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' Congestae cumulantur opes, orbisque rapinas 

Claudian, In Ruf., lib. i. v. 194. 

' So color de religion 
Van a buscar plata y oro 
Del encubierto tesoro." 

LoPB DE Vega, El Nuevo Mundo, Jom. i. 








Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S74, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

o^l L/3V7 3/^ 


The most brilliant passages in the history of Spanish 
adventure in the New World are undoubtedly afforded 
by the conquests of Mexico and Peru, — the two states 
which combined with the largest extent of empire a 
refined social polity and considerable progress in the 
arts of civilization. Indeed, so prominently do they 
stand out on the great canvas of history that the name 
of the one, notwithstanding the contrast they exhibit 
in their respective institutions, most naturally suggests 
that of the other; and when I sent to Spain to collect 
materials for an account of the Conquest of Mexico I 
included in my researches those relating to the Conquest 
of Peru. 

The larger part of the documents, in both cases, was 
obtained from the same great repository, — the archives 
of the Royal Academy of History at Madrid ; a body 
specially intrusted with the preservation of whatever 
may serve to illustrate the Spanish colonial annals. The 
richest portion of its collection is probably that fur- 
nished by the papers of Munoz. This eminent scholar, 
the historiographer of the Indies, employed nearly fifty 
years of his life in amassing materials for a history of 
Spanish discovery and conquest in America. For this, 
as he acted under the authority of the government, 
A* (v) 


every facility was afforded him ; and public offices and 
private depositories, in all the principal cities of the 
empire, both at home and throughout the wide extent 
of its colonial possessions, were freely opened to his 
inspection. The result was a magnificent collection of 
manuscripts, many of which he patiently transcribed 
with his own hand. But he did not live to reap the 
fruits of his persevering industry. The first volume of 
his work, relating to the voyages of Columbus, was 
scarcely finished when he died ; and his manuscripts, 
at least that portion of them which have reference to 
Mexico and Peru, were destined to serve the uses of 
another, an inhabitant of that New World to which 
they related. 

Another scholar, to whose literary stores I am largely 
indebted, is Don Martin Fernandez de Navarrete, late 
Director of the Royal Academy of History. Through 
the greater part of his long life he was employed in 
assembling original documents to illustrate the colonial 
annals. Many of these have been incorporated in his 
great work, " Coleccion de los Viages y Descubrimi- 
entos," which, although far from being completed after 
the original plan of its author, is of inestimable service 
to the historian. In following down the track of dis- 
covery, Navarrete turned aside from the conquests of 
Mexico and Peru, to exhibit the voyages of his coun- 
trymen in the Indian seas. His manuscripts relating 
to the two former countries he courteously allowed to 
be copied for me. Some of them have since appeared 
in print, under the auspices of his learned coadjutors, 
Salvaand Baranda, associated with him in the Academy j 
but the documents placed in my hands formed a most 



important contribution to my materials for the present 

The death of this illustrious man, which occurred 
some time after the present work was begun, has left a 
void in his country not easy to be filled ; for he was 
zealously devoted to letters, and few have done more 
to extend the knowledge of her colonial history. Far 
from an exclusive solicitude for his own literary pro- 
jects, he was ever ready to extend his sympathy and 
assistance to those of others. His reputation as a 
scholar was enhanced by the higher qualities which he 
possessed as a man, — by his benevolence, his simplicity 
of manners, and unsullied moral worth. My own obli- 
gations to him are large ; for from the publication of 
my first historical work, down to the last week of his 
life, I have constantly received proofs from him of his 
hearty and most efficient interest in the prosecution of 
my historical labors; and I now the more willingly pay 
this well-merited tribute to his deserts, that it must be 
exempt from all suspicion of flattery. 

In the list of those to whom I have been indebted 
for materials I must also include the name of M. Ter- 
naux-Compans, so well known by his faithful and elegant 
French versions of the Mufioz manuscripts; and that of 
my friend Don Pascual de Gayangos, who, under the 
modest dress of translation, has furnished a most acute 
and learned commentary on Spanish-Arabian history, — 
securing for himself the foremost rank in that difficult 
department of letters, which has been illumined by the 
labors of a Masdeu, a Casiri, and a Conde. 

To the materials derived from these sources I have 
added some manuscripts of an important character from 


the library of the Escorial. These, which chiefly relate 
to the ancient institutions of Peru, formed part of the 
splendid collection of Lord Kingsborough, which has 
unfortunately shared the lot of most literary collections, 
and been dispersed, since the death of its noble author. 
For these I am indebted to that industrious bibliogra- 
pher Mr. O. Rich, now resident in London. Lastly, 
I must not omit to mention my obligations, in another 
way, to my friend Charles Folsom, Esq., the learned 
librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, whose minute ac- 
quaintance with the grammatical structure and the true 
idiom of our English tongue has enabled me to correct 
many inaccuracies into which I had fallen in the com- 
position both of this and of my former works. 

From these different quarters I have accumulated a 
large amount of manuscripts, of the most various char- 
acter and from the most authentic sources ; royal grants 
and ordinances, instructions of the court, letters of 
the emperor to tlie great colonial officers, municipal 
records, personal diaries and memoranda, and a mass 
of private correspondence of the principal actors in 
this turbulent drama. Perhaps it was the turbulent 
state of the country which led to a more frequent corre- 
spondence between the government at home and the 
colonial officers. But, whatever be the cause, the col- 
lection of manuscript materials in reference to Peru is 
fuller and more complete than that which relates to 
Mexico ; so that there is scarcely a nook or corner so 
obscure, in the path of the adventurer, that some light 
has not been thrown on it by the written correspond- 
ence of the period. The historian has rather had 
occasion to complain of the embarras des richesses ; for 


in the multiplicity of contradictory testimony it is not 
always easy to detect the truth, as the multiplicity of 
cross-lights is apt to dazzle and bewilder the eye of the 

The present History has been conducted on the same 
general plan with that of the Conquest of Mexico. In 
an Introductory Book I have endeavored to portray the 
institutions of the Incas, that the reader may be ac- 
quainted with the character and condition of that ex- 
traordinary race before he enters on the story of their 
subjugation. The remaining books are occupied with 
the narrative of the Conquest. And here the subject, 
it must be allowed, notwithstanding the opportunities 
it presents for the display of character, strange romantic 
incident, and picturesque scenery, does not afford so 
obvious advantages to the historian as the Conquest of 
Mexico. Indeed, few subjects can present a parallel 
with that, for the purposes either of the historian or 
the poet. The natural development of the story, there, 
is precisely what would be prescribed by the severest 
rules of art. The conquest of the country is the great 
end always in the view of the reader. From the first 
landing of the Spaniards on the soil, their subsequent 
adventures, their battles and negotiations, their ruin- 
ous retreat, their rally and final siege, all tend to this 
grand result, till the long series is closed by the down- 
fall of the capital. In the march of events, all moves 
steadily forward to this consummation. It is a mag- 
nificent epic, in which the unity of interest is com- 

In the " Conquest of Peru," the action, so far as it 
is founded on the subversion of the Incas, terminates 


long before the close of the narrative. The remaining 
portion is taken up with the fierce feuds of the Con- 
querors, which would seem, from their very nature, to 
be incapable of being gathered round a central point 
of interest. To secure this, we must look beyond the 
immediate overthrow of the Indian empire. The con- 
quest of the natives is but the first step, to be followed 
by the conquest of the Spaniards — the rebel Span- 
iards — themselves, till the supremacy of the crown is 
permanently established over the country. It is not 
till this period that the acquisition of this transatlantic 
empire can be said to be completed ; and by fixing the 
eye on this remoter point the successive steps of the 
narrative will be found leading to one great result, and 
that unity of interest preserved which is scarcely less 
essential to historic than dramatic composition. How 
far this has been effected in the present work must be 
left to the judgment of the reader. 

No history of the Conquest of Peru, founded on 
original documents and aspiring to the credit of a 
classic composition, like the "Conquest of Mexico" 
by Solis, has been attempted, so far as I am aware, by 
the Spaniards. The English possess one of high value, 
from the pen of Robertson, whose masterly sketch 
occupies its due space in his great work on America. 
It has been my object to exhibit this same story in all 
its romantic details ; not merely to portray the charac- 
teristic features of the Conquest, but to fill up the out- 
line with the coloring of life, so as to present a minute 
and faithful picture of the times. For this purpose, 1 
have, in the composition of the work, availed myself 
freely of my manuscript materials, allowed the actors 

. PREFACE. xi 

to speak as much as possible for. themselves, and espe- 
cially made frequent use of their letters ; for nowhere 
is the heart more likely to disclose itself than in the 
freedom of private correspondence. I have made 
liberal extracts from these authorities in the notes, 
both to sustain the text, and to put in a printed form 
those productions of the eminent captains and states- 
men of the time, which are not very accessible to 
Spaniards themselves. 

M. Amedee Pichot, in the Preface to the French 
translation of the " Conquest of Mexico," infers from 
the plan of the composition that I must have carefully 
studied the writings of his countryman M. de Barante. 
The acute critic does me but justice in supposing me 
familiar with the principles of that writer's historical 
theory, so ably developed in the Preface to his " Dues 
de Bourgogne." And I have had occasion to admire 
the skilful manner in which he illustrates this theory 
himself, by constructing out of the rude materials of a 
distant time a monument of genius that transports us 
at once into the midst of the Feudal Ages, — and this 
without the incongruity which usually attaches to a 
modern-antique. In like manner I have attempted to 
seize the characteristic expression of a distant age and 
to exhibit it in the freshness of life. But in an essen- 
tial particular I have deviated from the plan of the 
French historian. I have suffered the scaffolding to 
remain after the building has been completed. In 
other words, I have shown to the reader the steps of 
the process by which I have come to my conclusions. 
Instead of requiring him to take my version of the 
story on trust, I have endeavored to give him a reason 


for my faith. By copious citations from the original 
authorities, and by such critical notices of them as 
would explain to him the influences to which they were 
subjected, I have endeavored to put him in a position 
for judging for himself, and thus for revising, and, if 
need be, reversing, the judgments of the historian. 
He will, at any rate, by this means, be enabled to 
estimate the difficulty of arriving at truth amidst the 
conflict of testimony; and he will learn to place little 
reliance on those writers who pronounce on the myste- 
rious past with what Fontenelle calls "a frightful degree 
of certainty," — a spirit the most opposite to that of 
the true philosophy of history. 

Yet it must be admitted that the chronicler who 
records the events of an earlier age has some obvious 
advantages in the store of manuscript materials at his 
command, — the statements of friends, rivals, and ene- 
mies furnishing a wholesome counterpoise to each 
other, — and also in the general course of events, as 
they actually occurred, affording the best commentary 
on the true motives of the parties. The actor, engaged 
in the heat of the strife, finds his view bounded by 
the circle around him, and his vision blinded by the 
smoke and dust of the conflict ; while the spectator, 
whose eye ranges over the ground from a more distant 
and elevated point, though the individual objects may 
lose somewhat of their vividness, takes in at a glance 
all the operations of the field. Paradoxical as it may 
a])pear, truth founded on contemporary testimony would 
seem, after all, as likely to be attained by the writer of 
a later day as by contemporaries themselves. 

Before closing these remarks, I may be permitted to 

PREFACE. xiii 

add a few of a personal nature. In several foreign 
notices of my writings, the author has been said to be 
blind ; and more than once I have had the credit of 
having lost my sight in the composition of my first his- 
tory. When I have met with such erroneous accounts, 
I liave hastened to correct them. But the present occa- 
sion affords me the best means of doing so ; and I am 
the more desirous of this as I fear some of my own 
remarks, in the Prefaces to my former histories, have 
led to the mistake. 

While at the University, I received an injury in one 
of my eyes, which deprived me of the sight of it. The 
other, soon after, was attacked by inflanimation so 
severely that for some time I lost the sight of that also ; 
and, though it was subsequently restored, the organ was 
so much disordered as to remain permanently debili- 
tated, while twice in my life, since, I have been deprived 
of the use of it for all purposes of reading and writing, 
for several years together. It was during one of these 
periods that I received from Madrid the materials for 
the "History of Ferdinand and Isabella," and in my 
disabled condition, with my transatlantic treasures lying 
around me, I was like one pining from hunger in the 
midst of abundance. In this state, I resolved to make 
the ear, if possible, do the. work of the eye. I procured 
the services of a secretary, who read to me the various 
authorities; and in time I' became so far familiar with 
the sounds of the different foreign languages (to some 
of which, indeed, I had been previously accustomed 
by a residence abroad) that I could comprehend his 
reading without much difficulty. As the reader pro- 
ceeded, I dictated copious notes ; and when these had 



swelled to a considerable amount they were read to me 
repeatedly, till I had mastered their contents sufficiently 
for the purposes of composition. The same notes fur- 
nished an easy means of reference to sustain the text. 

Still another difficulty occurred, in the mechanical 
labor of writing, which I found a severe trial to the 
eye. This was remedied by means of a writing-case, 
such as is used by the blind, which enabled me to com- 
mit -my thoughts to paper without the aid of sight, 
serving me equally well in the dark as in the light. 
The characters thus formed made a near approach to 
hieroglyphics ; but my secretary became expert in the 
art of deciphering, and a fair copy — with a liberal 
allbwance for unavoidable blunders — was transcribed 
for the use of the printer. I have described the pro- 
cess with more minuteness, as some curiosity has been 
repeatedly expressed in reference to my modus operandi 
under my privations, and the knowledge of it may be 
of some assistance to others in similar circumstances. 

Though I was encouraged by the sensible progress 
of my work, it was necessarily slow. But in time the 
tendency to inflammation diminished, and the strength 
of the eye was confirmed more and more. It was at 
length so far restored that I could read for several hours 
of the day, though my labors in this way necessarily 
terminated with the daylight. Nor could I ever dis- 
pense with the services of a secretary, or with the 
wricing-case ; for, contrary to the usual experience, I 
have found writing a severer trial to the eye than read- 
ing, — a remark, however, which does not ai)ply to the 
reading of manuscript; and to enable myself, therefore, 
to revise my composition more carefully, I caused a 


copy of the "History of Ferdinand and Isabella" to 
be printed for my own inspection before it was sent to 
the press for publication. Such as I have described 
was the improved state of my health during the prepa- 
ration of the "Conquest of Mexico;" and, satisfied 
with being raised so nearly to a level with the rest of 
my species, I scarcely envied the superior good fortune 
of those who could prolong their studies into the even- 
ing and the later hours of the night. 

But a change has again taken place during the last 
two years. The sight of my eye has become gradually 
dimmed, while the sensibility of the nerve has been so 
far increased that for several weeks of the last year I 
have not opened a volume, and through the whole time 
I have not had the use of it, on an average, for more 
than an hour a day. Nor can I cheer myself with the 
delusive expectation that, impaired as the organ has 
become from having been tasked, probably, beyond its 
strength, it can ever renew its youth, or be of much 
service to me hereafter in my literary researches. 
Whether I shall have the heart to enter, as I had pro- 
posed, on a new and more extensive field of historical 
labor, with these impediments, I cannot say. Perhaps 
long habit, and a natural desire to follow up the career 
which I have so long pursued, may make this, in a 
manner, necessary, as my past experience has already 
proved that it is practicable. 

From this statement — too long, I fear, for his pa- 
tience — the reader who feels any curiosity about the 
matter will understand the real extent of my embar- 
rassments in my historical pursuits. That they have 
not been very light will be readily admitted, when it 


is considered that I have had but a limited use of my 
eye in its best state, and that much of the time I have 
been debarred from the use of it altogetlier. Yet the 
difficulties I have had to contend with are very far 
inferior to those which fall to the lot of a blind man. 
I know of no historian now alive who can claim the 
glory of having overcome such obstacles, but the author 
of "La Conquete de I'Angleterre par les Normands;" 
who, to use his own touching and beautiful language, 
"has made himself the friend of darkness," and who, 
to a profound philosophy that requires no light but 
that from within, unites a capacity for extensive and 
various research, that might well demand the severest 
application of the student. 

The remarks into which I have been led at such 
length will, I trust, not be set down by the reader to 
an unworthy egotism, but to their true source, a desire 
to correct a misapprehension to which I may have un- 
intentionally given rise myself, and which has gained 
me the credit with some — far from grateful to my 
feelings, since undeserved — of having surmounted the 
incalculable obstacles which lie in the path of the blind 

Boston, April 2, 1847. 











2* ( xvii ) 






Physical Aspect of the Country.— Sources of Peru- 
vian Civilization. — Empire of the Incas. — Royal 

Family.— Nobility 3 

Extent of the Peruvian Empire 4 

Its Topographical Aspect 5 

Unfavorable to Husbandry ....... 6 

Natural Impediments overcome 7 

Source of Civilization ........ 8 

Children of the Sun 9 

Other Traditions lo 

Their Uncertainty ii 

Conquests of the Incas i6 

City of Cuzco 17 

Fortress of Cuzco ........ 18 

Its remarkable Structure ........19 

Queen of the Inca ........ 21 

Heir-apparent .....«..•• 22 

Order of Chivalry ........ 23 

Ceremonies of Admission 24 

Inca a Despot 26 

His Dress ..........27 

Intercourse vv'ith the People ....... 27 

Progresses through the Country 28 

Royal Palaces 29 




Their gorgeous Decorations 30 

Gardens of Yucay 31 

All closed at the Inca's Death 33 

Obsequies of the Incas ....... 33 

Their Bodies preserved ........ 34 

Produced at Festivals 35 

Inca Nobles 36 

Their exclusive Privileges 37 

Curacas 38 

Inca NobiUty the highest ..,•... 3q 


Orders of the State. — Provisions for Justice. — Divis- 
ion OF Lands. — Revenues and Registers.— Great 

Roads and Posts. — Military Tactics and Policy . 43 

Name of Peru 44 

Divisions of the Empire 45 

Tribunals of Justice 46 

Character of the Laws ........ 47 

Simple Administration of Justice ..... 48 

Threefold Distribution of Lands ...... 50 

Division renewed yearly ....... 51 

Agrarian Law 52 

The Land cultivated by the People 53 

Appropriation and Care of the Llamas 54 

Woollen Manufactures 55 

Labor in Peru v^ .... 56 

Registers and Sur\'eys by Government .... 57 

Rotation of Labor 58 

Magazines of Products and Manufactures .... 59 
Taxation borne wholly by the People . . . . .62 

No Room for Progress 62 

No Pauperism 63 

Monuments of Peruvian Industry 64 

Great Roads 64 

Suspension Bridges 66 

Caravansaries, or Tambos 68 

System of Posts 69 




Relays of Couriers 7° 

Military Policy of the Incas 

Conquests in the Name of Religion 

Peruvian Army .... 

Arms and Armor 

Military Quarters and Magazines 

Lenient Policy in War 

Religion of the Conquered Nations 

Disposition of the Conquered Territoiy 

Quichua Language 

Mitimaes ..... 

Unity of Purpose in Peruvian Institutions 

Domestic Quiet their Aim 

Religious Character of Peruvian Wars 

Singular Harmony in their Empire 87 





Peruvian Religion. — Deities. — Gorgeous Temples 
Festivals. — Virgins of the Sun. — Marriage. 
Religion of the American Races 
Peruvian Notions of a Future Life 
Embalming and Burial 
Idea of God .... 
Worship of the Sun . 
Inferior Deities 
Temple of the Sun at Cuzco 
Its Richness and Splendor 
Temples of inferior Deities 
Utensils and Ornaments of Gold 
Proofs of ancient Magnificence . 
High Priest .... 
Sacerdotal Order 
Duties of Priests 
Festival of Raymi 
Human Sacrifices rare . 
Sacred Flame .... 
Religious Ceremony 
''ircins of the Sun 









Convents "3 

Brides of the Inca • uS 

Marriage universal Ii6 

Provisions for Marriage II7 


Education. — Quipus. — Astronomy. — Agriculture. — 

Aqueducts. — Guano. — Important Esculents . . 120 

Education in Peru 120 

Seminaries and Amautas 121 

Quipus and Quipucamayus 122 

Method of transmitting History 124 

Various Symbols of Thought 125 

Quipus the poorest 125 

Traditional Minstrelsy 127 

Quichua Dialect 127 

Theatrical Exhibitions 128 

Division of Time 129 

Regulated by the Equinoxes 130 

Little Progress in Astronomy 131 

The Inca's Care of Agriculture 133 

System of Irrigation 134 

Aqueducts 135 

Terraces on the Sierra 136 

Guano 138 

Substitute for the Plough 139 

Fairs 140 

Variety of Products 141 

Indian Com 143 

Cuca . . • 143 

Potatoes 144 


Peruvian Sheep.— Great Hunts. — Manufactures. — Me- 
chanical Skill. — Architecture. — Concluding Re- 
flections 146 

Advantages for Manufactures 147 

The Llama J47 

CONTENTS. xxiii 


Alpacas .....,,,,. 149 

Huanacos and Vicunas ........ 149 

Great annual Hunts 150 

\yooIlen Manufactures ........ 152 

Division of Mechanical Labor 153 

Extraordinary Dexterity in the Arts 154 

No Use of Iron 155 

Gold and Silver 156 

Architecture a Test of Civilization 157 

Peruvian Architecture 158 

Houses 160 

Their Simplicity of Construction 161 

Adaptation to Climate 161 

Comparison between the Inca and Aztec Races . . . 163 

In Policy and Religion 164 

In Science 165 

Peruvian and Eastern Empires 167 

The Incas perfect Despots ....... 168 

Careful of the People 170 

No Free Agency in Peru 170 

No Idleness or Poverty 171 

Influence of Government on Character 174 

Life and Works of Sarmiento 177 

And of Polo de Ondegardo 181 




\ncient and modern science. — art of navigation. — 
Maritime Discovery. — Spirit of the Spaniards. — 
Possessions in the New World.— Rumors concern- 
ing Peru 187 

Introductory Remarks ....... 187 

Progress in Navigation 191 



Early Voyages of Discovery 19a 

Discovery of America 193 

Romantic Expectations 194 

Nortliern and Southern Adventurers 19S 

Extent of Discovery 196 

Balboa reaches the Pacific 197 

Colonial Policy 198 

Pedro Arias de Avila 200 

Foundation of Panami 201 

First Southern Expedition 202 

Rumors respecting Peru 203 


Francisco Pizarro.— His Early History. — First Expe- 
dition TO THE South. — Distresses of the Voyagers, 
— Sharp Encounters.— Return to Panama.— Alma- 

GRo's Expedition 204 

Francisco Pizarro's Early Life 205 

He goes to Hispaniola 206 

Various Adventures 206 

He accompanies Pedrarias to Panama 207 

Southern Expeditions 208 

Almagro and Luque 209 

Their Union with Pizarro 210 

First Expedition for Discovery 211 

Pizarro takes Command of it 213 

Enters the River Bini ........ 213 

Distresses on Shore 213 

Pursues his Voyage along the Coast 214 

Heavy Tempests 214 

Puts back and lands ........ 214 

Great Sufferings of the Spaniards 215 

Montenegro sent back for Supplies 217 

Indian Village 218 

Great Distresses during his Absence 220 

He returns with Assistance 220 

Uncertainty of the Spaniards 221 

I'hey proceed farther South 221 



Traces of Cannibalism ........ 222 

Pizarro reconnoitres the Country 223 

Fierce Conflict with the N;itivcs 224 

Danger of Pizarro 225 

He sends back his Vessel ....... 226 

Adventures of Alinagro 227 

He joins Pizarro 228 

Returns to Panamd ........ 229 


The famous Contract. — Second Expedition. — Ruiz ex- 
plores THE Coast. — Pizarro's Sufferings in the 
Forest. — Arrival of new Recruits. — Fresh Dis- 
coveries AND Disasters. — Pizarro on the Isle of 

Gallo 230 

Almagro coolly received by Pedrarias .... 230 

Influence of Fernando de Luque 231 

Narrow Views of the Governor 232 

His subsequent History 234 

Pizarro, Almagro, and Luque 235 

Famous Contract for discovering Peru 236 

Religious Tone assumed in it 237 

Motives of the Conquerors ....... 237 

Luque's Share in the Enteiprise ...... 238 

Preparations for the Voyage ....... 239 

Insufficiency of Supplies ....... 240 

Sailing of the Armament 241 

Almagro returns to Panamd 241 

The Pilot Ruiz e.\plores the Coast 242 

Indian Balsas 243 

Signs of higher Civilization ....... 244 

Returns with Indian Captives ...... 245 

Fizarro's Journey into the Interior ...... 245 

Frightful Difliculties of the March 246 

Altnagro returns with Recruits 2-17 

They continue their Voyage ...... 248 

Thickly-settled Country , . 249 

Gold and Precious Stones ....... 250 

Peru. — Vol. I. — c 2 



Warlike Aspect of the Natives 251 

Deliberations of the Spaniards 252 

Dispute between Pizarro and Almagro 253 

The latter returns to Panamd 254 

Pizarro remains at the Isle of Gallo 255 

His Followers discontented 255 

Send home a secret Letter 2:^6 


Indignation of the Governor. — Stern Resolution of 
Pizarro. — Prosecution of the Voyage. — Brilliant 
Aspect of Tu.mbez.— Discoveries along the Coast. 

— Return to — Piz.arro embai 


Pizarro ordered to return . 

He refuses .... 

His bold Resolution . 

Tliirteen adhere to him . 

Pizarro's heroic Constancy . 

Remove to the Isle of Gorgona 

Efforts of Luque and Almagro 

Succors sent to Pizarro . 

He continues his Voyage . 

Enters the Gulf of Guayaquil 

Lands at Tumbez 

Kind Reception by its Inhabitants 

Visit of an Inca Noble 

Adventure pf Molina 

Pedro dc Candia sent on Shore . 

Kindly treated by the Natives 

Reports of the Riches of the Place 

Joy of the Spaniards 

Pizarro again steers for the South 

Tossed about by Tempests 

Touches at various Points of the Coast 

Splendid Accounts of the Peruvian Empire 

Arrives at the Port of Santa 

Homeward Voyage 















Lands at Santa Cruz ........ 28a 

Entertained by an Indian Princess 282 

Continues his Voyage to Panamd ..... 284 

Joy and Triumpli of his Associates 284 

Coldness of the Governor ....... 285 

Pizarro goes as Envoy to Spain 287 

Notice of Garcilasso de la Vega 288 

His Life and Writings 289 

Character of his Worlcs 290 




PiZARRo's Reception at Court. — His Capitulation with 
THE Crown. — He visrrs his Birthplace. — Returns 
to the New World. — Difficulties with Almagro. 
— His Third Expedition. — Rich Indian Booty.— 

Battles in the Isle of Puna 297 

Pizarro in Spain . 297 

Gracious Reception at Court 298 

Relates his Adventures to the Emperor .... 299 

His Capitulation with the Crown 301 

Dignities conferred on him 301 

Provisions in Behalf of the Natives 304 

Grasping Spirit of Pizarro ....... 305 

He visits his Birthplace 307 

The Pizarro Family . 308 

His Brother Hernando 308 

Obstacles to the Expedition 310 

Sails and crosses to Nombre de Dios . . , . • 311 
Almagro greatly discontented ...... 311 


A Rupture with Difficult}' prevented 
Expedition fitted out at PanamA 
Pizarro's final Voyage to Peru 
Driven into tlie Bay of St. Matthew 
Lands his Forces .... 
Plunders an Indian Village 
Division of Spoil 
He marches along the Coast 
Sufferings and Discontent of the 
They reach Puerto Viejo 
Joined by Reinforcements 
Cross to Isle of Puna . 
Conspiracy of its Inliabitants 
They attack the Spanish Camp 
Arrival of De Soto with Recruits 







Peru at the Time of the Conquest. — Reign of Huayna 
Capac. — The Inca Brothers.— Contest for the Em- 
pire. — Triumph and Cruelties of Atahuallpa . 327 
The Inca Huayna Capac ....... 327 

His Apprehensions respecting the Wliite Men . . . 529 

Prognostics of Trouble in Peru 329 

Atahuallpa the Inca's Son 33-2 

Shares the Empire with his Brother Huascar . . . 332 

Causes of Jealousy between them 335 

Commencement of Hostilities . . . . . . 36 

Huascar's Forces defeated ....... 337 

Ravage of Canaris 337 

Atahuallpa marches on Cuzco ...... 338 

His Victory at Quipaypan 339 

Capture of Huascar ........ 340 

.Accounts of Atahuallpa's Cniclties 3.I i 

Reasons for doubting their Accuracy ..... 342 

At.-ihuallpa's Triumph 344 

His Want of Foresight . 314 





The Spaniards land at Tumbez. — Pizarro reconnoi- 
tres THE Country. — Foundation of San Miguel. — 
March into the Interior. — Embassy from the Inca. 
— Adventures on the March. — Reach the Foot of 

THE Andes 346 

Spaniards pass over to Tumbez 346 

The Place deserted and dismantled 347 

Its Curaca captured 348 

Pizarro reconnoitres the Country ..... 350 

His conciliating Policy . . . . ... , -351 

He founds San Miguel 352 

Learns the State of the Kingdom 354 

Determines to strike into the Interior .... 355 

His probable Intentions ........ 355 

Boldness of the Enterprise 356 

Marches through the Level Country ..... 357 

Hospitality of the Natives 358 

Discontent in the Army ........ 359 

Pizarro's E.\pedient to quiet it 359 

Reception at Zaran . . . . . . , .361 

Envoy from the Inca 362 

Courteously received by Pizarro 363 

His Message to the Inca ....... 364 

De Soto's E.\pedition 364 

His Accounts of the Indian Empire ..... 365 

March towards Caxamalca ....... 367 

Contradictory Information ....... 368 

Emissary to Atahuallpa ........ 369 

Effective Eloquence of Pizarro ...... 371 


Severe Passage of the .^ndes. — Embassies from Ata- 
huallpa. — The Spaniards Caxamalca. — Em- 
bassy TO the Inca. — Interview with the Inca. — 

Despondency of the Spaniards 373 

March over the Andes ....... 373 




Fearful Passes of the Sierra 374 

Toilsome and Dangerous Ascent 374 

Mountain Fortresses 375 

The Army gain the Summit 376 

Indian Embassy • • . . . 377 

Lofty Tone of Pizarro . 378 

Return of the Spanish Envoy 379 

Different Accounts of Atahuallpa 380 

Bold Descent of the Cordilleras 380 

Beautiful Valley of Caxamalca 3S1 

Imposing View of the Peruvian Camp 381 

Entrance into Caxamalca 382 

Description of the City 383 

De Soto sent to Atahuallpa 385 

His Interview with the Monarch 388 

Haughty Demeanor of the Latter 389 

His Reply to Pizarro 389 

Soto's Exhibition of Horsemanship 390 

Gloomy Forebodings of the Spaniards 391 

Courage of Pizarro 392 

Daring Plan for seizing the Inca 393 

Reasons for its Adoption 394 


Desperate Plan of Pizarro. — Atahuallpa visits the 
Spaniards. — Horrible Massacre. — The Inca a Pris- 
oner. — Conduct of the Conquerors. — Splendid 
Promises of the Inca.— Death of Huascar . . 397 

Disposition of the Spanish Troops 397 

Religious Ceremonies . 398 

Approach of the Inca 399 

Designs not to enter the Town 401 

Disappointment of the Spaniards 401 

Atahuallpa changes his Purpose 402 

Leaves his Warriors behind 402 

Enters the great Square 403 

Urged to embrace Christianity 405 

He rejects it with Disdain 406 



General Attack of the Spaniards 408 

Bloody Massacre of the Peruvians 409 

Seizure of Atahuallpa 411 

Dispersion of his Army .' . 412 

Demeanor of the Captive Monarch 414 

His probable Designs ........ 414 

Courteously treated by Pizarro 415 

Indian Prisoners 418 

Rich Spoils of the Inca 419 

Magnificent Offer of Atahuallpa 421 

Accepted by Pizarro 421 

Inca's Mode of Life in Captivity 423 

Refuses to embrace Christianity ...... 424 

Assassination of his Brother Huascar 425 



— Demolition of the Idol.— The Inca's favorite 
General. — The Inca's Life in Confinement.— En- 
voys' Conduct in Cuzco. — Arrival of Almagro . 428 
Slow Arrival of the Ransom . . . . ^. . 428 

Rumors of an Indian Rising 429 

Emissaries sent to Cuzco ....... 430 

City and Temple of Pachacamac 430 

Hernando Pizarro's March thither 431 

Great Road of the Inca. 431 

Herds of Llamas 433 

Rich Cultivation of the Valleys 433 

Hernando's Arrival at the City 434 

Forcible Entry into the Temple ...... 435 

Horror of the Natives 435 

Destruction of the Indian Idol 436 

Small Amount of Booty ....... 437 

' Hernando marches against Challcuchima .... 438 

Persuades him to visit Caxamalca ..... 439 

Interview of Atahuallpa with his General .... 440 

The Inca's absolute Authority .... 441 

His Personal Habits and Appearance 441 



Return of the Emissaries from Cuzco 

Magnificent Reports of the City 

They stripped tlie Gold from the Temples 

Their Insolence and Rapacity 

Return with Loads of Treasure . 

Almagro arrives in Peru .... 

Brings a large Reinforcement 

Joins Pizarro's Camp .... 

Suoerstitious Bodings of Atahuallpa . 




Immense Amount of Treasure. — Its Division among 
THE Troops. — Rumors of a Rising. — Trial of the 

Inca.— His Execution.— Reflections . . . 450 

Division of the Inca's Ransom 450 

Hernando takes the Royal Fifth to Spain .... 452 

His Jealousy of Almagro 452 

Enormous Amount of the Treasure ..... 453 

Difficulties in its Distribution 455 

Shares of the Pizarros 457 

Those of tl\e Soldiers 457 

Exclusion of Almagro and his Followers .... 458 

Preparations for the March to Cuzco 459 

The Inca demands his Liberty 460 

Equivocal Conduct of Pizarro 461 

The Interpreter Felipillo 462 

The Inca charged with exciting Insurrection . . . 463 

His Protestations of Innocence • 463 

His Apprehensions 464 

Fears and Murmurs of the Spaniards 465 

They demand the Inca's Death 465 

He is brought to Trial 466 

Charges against him ....*.... 466 

Condemned to be burnt alive 468 

Some protest against the Sentence 468 

The Inca entirely unmanned 469 

His earnest Entreaties for Mercy 470 

Led to Execution 471 


Abjures his Religion .... 

Perishes by the Garrote . 

His Character and Appearance» . 

Funeral Obsequies .... 

Return of De Solo .... 

His Indignation and Astonishment 

Reflections on the Inca's Treatment . 

Responsibility of Pizarro 

Motives of Personal Pique . 

Views of Chroniclers respecting the Execution 



. 472 

. 474 

• 476 

. 478 

. 481 


nisoRDEKS IN Peru. — March to Cuzxo. — Encounter 
WITH THE Natives. — burnt. — Ar- 
rival IN Cuzco. — Description of the City. — 

Treasure found there 483 

Atithority of the Inca in Peru 4S3 

Effects of Atahuallpa's Death 4S4 

New Inca appointed by Pizarro 485 

March to Cuzco ......... 486 

Formidable Mountain-Passes ...... 487 

Tedious and painful Route ....... 488 

Conflict with the Indians 4S9 

Pizarro halts at Xauxa 490 

De Soto sent forward 490 

Furiously assaulted in the Sierra 491 

Fierce Battle with the Indians ...... 491 

Apprehensions of the Spaniards 492 

Arrival of Succors 493 

The Peruvians retreat 494 

Challcuchima accused of Conspiracy ..... 495 

Death of the Inca Toparca 496 

Rich Vale of Xaquixaguana ...... 497 

Trial and Condemnation of Challcuchima .... 497 

Burned alive before the Army ^98 

Spaniards arrive at Cuzco 500 

Entrance into the Capital , . 501 

Its large Population ........ soa 

xxxiv CONTENTS. 


Gorgeous Edifices 503 

Its massive Fortress ........ 504 

Temple of the Sun 505 

Plunder of the Public Buildings 506 

Amount of Treasure secured 507 

Its Division among the Troops 508 

Its Effect upon the Spaniards 509 




Peru.— Vol. I. — A 







Of the numerous nations which occupied the great 
American continent at the time of its discovery by the 
Europeans, the two most advanced in power and re- 
finement were undoubtedly those of Mexico and Peru. 
But, though resembling one another in extent of civili- 
zation, they differed widely as to the nature of it; and 
the philosophical student of his species may feel a 
natural curiosity to trace the different steps by which 
these two nations strove to emerge from the state of 
barbarism and place themselves on a higher point in 
the scale of humanity. In a former work I have en- 
deavored to exhibit the institutions and character of 
the ancient Mexicans, and the story of their conquest 
by the Spaniards. The present will be devoted to the 



Peruvians ; and, if their history shall be found to pre- 
sent less strange anomalies and striking contrasts than 
that of the Aztecs, it may interest us quite as much by 
the pleasing picture it offers of a well-regulated govern- 
ment and sober habits of industry under the patriarchal 
sway of the Incas. 

The empire of Peru, at the period of the Spanish 
invasion, stretched along the Pacific from about the 
second degree north to the thirty-seventh degree of 
south latitude; a line, also, which describes the western 
boundaries of the modern republics of Ecuador, Peru, 
Bolivia, and Chili. Its breadth cannot so easily be 
determined ; for, though bounded everywhere by the 
great ocean on the west, towards the east it spread out, 
in many parts, considerably beyond the mountains, to 
the confines of barbarous states, whose exact position 
is undetermined, or whose names are effaced from the 
map of history. It is certain, however, that its breadth 
was altogether disproportioned to its length.' 

The topographical aspect of the country is very re- 
markable. A strip of land, rarely exceeding twenty 
leagues in width, runs along the coast, and is hemmed 
in through its whole extent by a colossal range of 
mountains, which, advancing from the Straits of Magel- 

« Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 65.* — Cieza de Leon, Cronica 
oel Peru (Anvers, 1554), cap. 41. — Garcilasso de la Vega, Commen- 
taries Reales (Lisboa, 1609), Parte i, lib. i, cap. 8. — .According to the 
last authority, the empire, in its greatest breadth, did not exxeed jne 
hundred and twenty leagues. But Garcilasso's geography will not 
bear criticism. 

• [In regard to the real authorship of the work erroneously attrib- 
uted by Prescott to Juan de Sarmiento, see infra, p. 178, note. — ED.] 



Ian, reaches its highest elevation — indeed, the highest 
on the American continent — about the seventeenth 
degree south,* and, after crossing the line, gradually 
subsides into hills of inconsiderable magnitude, as it 
enters the Isthmus of Panama. This is the famous 
Cordillera of the Andes, or "copper mountains,"^ 
as termed by the natives, though they might with 
more reason have been called "mountains of gold." 
Arranged sometimes in a single line, though more 
frequently in two or three lines running parallel or 
obliquely to each other, they seem to the voyager on 
the ocean but one continuous chain ; while the huge 
volcanoes, which to the inhabitants of the table-land 
look like solitary and independent masses, appear to 
him only like so many peaks of the same vast and 
magnificent range. So immense is the scale on which 
Nature works in these regions that it is oiily when 
viewed from a great distance that the spectator can in 
any degree comprehend the relation of the several 

' According to Malte-Brun, it is under the equator that we meet 
with the loftiest summits of this chain. (Universal Geography, Eng. 
trans., book 86.) But more recent measurements have shown this to 
be between fifteen and seventeen degrees south, where the Nevado de 
Sorata rises to the enormous height of 25,250 feet, and the Illimani 
to 24,300.* 

3 At least, the word anta, which has been thought to furnish tlia 
etymology of Andes, in the Peruvian tongue, signified " ccpper."f 
Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 14. 

* [It is now known that the Andes nowhere attain the ele- itions 
here mentioned, and the height of Sorata and Illimani, as st;ued by 
the latest autliorities, is 21,286 and 21,149 f^^t respectively. — Ed.] 

f [But this etymology has not been generally accepted, and it is in 
fact highly improbable. The real derivation, as Humboldt remarks, 
is " lost in the obscurity of the past." — Ed.] 


parts to the stupendous whole. Few of the works of 
Nature, indeed, are calculated to produce impressions 
of higher sublimity than the aspect of this coast, as it is 
gradually unfolded to the eye of the mariner sailing on 
the distant waters of the Pacific ; where mountain is 
seen to rise above mountain, and Chimborazo, with its 
glorious canopy of snow, glittering far above the clouds, 
crowns the whole* as with a celestial diadem.'* 

The face of the country would appear to be pecu- 
liarly unfavorable to the purposes both of agriculture 
and of internal communication. The sandy strip along 
the coast, where rain rarely falls, is fed only by a few 
scanty streams, that furnish a remarkable contrast to 
the vast volumes of water which roll down the eastern 
sides of the Cordilleras into the Atlantic. The pre- 
cipitous steeps of the sierra, with its splintered sides 
of porphyry and granite, and its higher regions wrapped 
in snows that never melt under the fierce sun of the 
equator, unless it be from the desolating action of its 
own volcanic fires, might seem equally unpropitious to 
the labors of the husbandman. And all communica- 
tion between the parts of the long-extended territory 

4 Humboldt, Vues des Cordill^res et Monumens des Peuples in- 
digenes de I'Amerique (Paris, 1810), p. 106. — Malte-Rrun, book 88. 
— The few brief sketches which M. de Humboldt has given of the 
scenery of the Cordilleras, showing the hand of a great painter, as 
welLas of a philosopher, make us regret the more that he has not 
given the results of his observations in this interesting region as mi- 
nutely as he has done in respect to Mexico. 

♦ [Chimborazo (21,420 feet), formerly supposed to be the highest 
peak of the Andes, is surpassed by several summits in Peru, and by 
Aconcagua, in Chili (23,200, or, according to Captains Fitzroy and 
Beechey, 23,910 feet), the highest elevation in South America. — Ed.] 


might be thought to be precluded by the savage char- 
acter of the region, broken up by precipices, furious 
torrents, and impassable quebradas, — those hideous 
rents in the mountain-chain, whose depths the eye of 
the terrified traveller, as he winds along his aerial path- 
way, vainly endeavors to fathom. ^ Yet the industry, 
we miglit almost say the genius, of the Indian was suffi- 
cient to' overcome all these impediments of Nature. 

By a judicious system of canals and subterraneous 
aqueducts, the waste places on the coast were refreshed 
by copious streams, that clothed them in fertility and 
beauty. Terraces were raised upon the steep sides of 
the Cordillera; and, as the different elevations had the 
effect of difference of latitude, they exhibited in regular 
gradation every variety of vegetable form, from the 
stimulated growth of the tropics to the temperate pro- 
ducts of a northern clime; while flocks of llaitias — the 
Peruvian sheep — wandered with their shepherds over 
the broad, snow-covered wastes on the crests of the 
sierra, which rose beyond the limits of cultivation. An 
industrious population settled along the lofty regions 
of the plateaus, and towns and hamlets, clustering 
amidst orchards and wide-spreading gardens, seemed 
suspended in the air far above the ordinary elevation 
of the clouds.* Intercourse was maintained between 

5 " These crevices are so deep," says M. de Humboldt, with his 
usual vivacity of illustration, " that if Vesuvius or the Puy de Dome 
were seated in the bottom of them, they would not rise above the 
level of the ridges of the neighboring sierra." Vues des Cordill^res, 
p. 9. 

* The plains of Quito are at the height of between nine and ten 
thousand feet above the sea. (See Condamine, Journal d'un Voyage 
k rfequateur (Paris, 1751), p. 48.) Other valleys or plateaus in this 
vast group of mountains reach a still higher elevation. 


these numerous settlements by means of the great roads 
which traversed the mountain-passes and opened an 
easy communication between the capital and the re- 
motest extremities of the empire. 

The source of this civilization is traced to the valley 
of Cuzco, the central region of Peru, as its name im- 
plies.' The origin of the Peruvian empire, like the 
origin of all nations, except the very few which, like 
our own, have had the good fortune to date from a 
civilized period and people, is lost in the mists of fable, 
which, in fact, have settled as darkly round its history 
as round that of any nation, ancient or modern, in the 
Old World. According to the tradition most familiar 
to the European scholar, the time was when the ancient 
races of the continent were all plunged in deplorable 
barbarism; when they worshipped nearly every object 
in nature indiscriminately, made war their pastime, 
and feasted on the flesh of their slaughtered captives. 
The Sun, the great luminary and parent of mankind, 
taking compassion on their degraded condition, sent 
two of his children, Manco Capac and Mama Oello 
Huaco, to gather the natives into communities and 
teach them- the. arts of civilized life. The celestial 
pair, brother and sister, husband and wife, advanced 
along the high plains in the neighborhood of Lake 
Titicaca to about the sixteenth degree south. They 
bore with them a golden wedge, and were directed to 
take up their residence on the spot where the sacred 
emblem should without effort sink into the ground. 
I'hey proceeded accordingly but a short distance, as 

7 "Cuzco, in the language of the Incas," says Garcilasso, "signifies 
navel." Com. Real., Parte i, lib. i, cap. i8. 


far as the valley of Cuzco, the spot indicated by the 
performance of the miracle, since there the wedge 
speedily sank into the earth and disappeared forever. 
Here the children of the Sun established their resi- 
dence, and soon entered upon their beneficent mission 
among the rude inhabitants of the country; Manco 
Capac teaching the men the arts of agriculture, and 
Mama Oello® initiating her own sex in the mysteries 
of weaving and spinning. The simple people lent a 
willing ear to the messengers of Heaven, and, gathering 
together in considerable numbers, laid the foundations 
of the city of Cuzco. The same wise and benevolent 
maxims which regulated the conduct of the first Incas' 
descended to their successors, and under their mild 
sceptre a community gradually extended itself along 
the broad surface of the table-land, which asserted its 

8 Mama, with the Peruvians, signified " mother." (Garcilasso, Com. 
Real., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. i.) The identity of this term with that 
used by Europeans is a curious coincidence. It is scarcely more so, 
however, than that of the corresponding word papa, which with the 
ancient Mexicans denoted a priest of high rank; reminding us of the 
papa, " pope," of the Italians. With both, the term seems to embrace 
in its most comprehensive sense the paternal relation, in which it is 
more familiarly employed by most of the nations of Europe. Nor was 
the use of it limited to modern times, being applied in the same way 
both by Greeks and Romans; "IlaTrTra (piXe," says Nausikaa, address- 
ing her father, in the simple language which the modern versifiers have 
thought too simple to render literally. 

9 /nca signified iiti£^ or /ord. Capa.c meant, ^reaf or power/u/. It 
was applied to several of the successors of Manco, in the same man- 
ner as the epithet Yupatiqjii, signifying rich in all virtues, was added 
to the names of several Incas. (Cieza de Leon, Croiiica, cap. 41. — 
Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 17.) The good qualities 
commemorated by the cognomens of most of the Peruvian princes 
afford an honorable, though not altogether unsuspicious, tribute to 
the excellence of their characters. 


superiority over the surrounding tribes. Such is the 
■pleasing picture of the origin of the Peruvian mon- 
archy, as portrayed by Garcilasso de la Vega, the de- 
scendant of the Incas, and through him made familiar 
to the European reader." 

But this tradition is only one of several current 
among the Peruvian Indians, and probably not the one 
most generally received. Another legend speaks of 
certain white and bearded men, who, advancing from 
the shores of Lake Titicaca, established an ascendency 
over the natives and imparted to them the blessings of 
civilization. It may remind us of the tradition existing 
among the Aztecs in respect to Quetzalcoatl, the good 
deity, who with a similar garb and aspect came up the 
great plateau from the east on a like benevolent mission 
to the natives. The analogy is the more remarkable 
as there is no trace of any communication with, or 
even knowledge of, each other to be found in the two 

'0 Com. Real., Parte i, lib. i, cap. 9-16. 

" These several traditions, all of a very puerile character, are to be 
found in Ondegnrdo, Relacion Segunda, MS., — Sarmiento, Relacion, 
MS., cap. I, — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 105, — Conquista i Pobla- 
cion del Piru, MS., — Declaracion de los Presidente e Oydores de la 
Audiencia Reale del Peru, MS., — all of them authorities contemporary 
with the Conquest. The story of the bearded white men finds its 
place in most of their legends.* 

* [Such legends will not be considered " puerile," nor will their 
similarity with those of remote races seem inexplicable, when they are 
viewed in their true light, as embodying conceptions of nature formed 
by the human mind in the early stages of its development. Thus 
considered, " the very myths," as Mr. Tylor remarks, " that were dis- 
carded as lying fables, prove to be sources of history in ways that their 
makers and transmitters little dreamed of." The Peruvian traditions 


The date usually assigned for these extraordinary 
events was about four hundred years before the coming 
of the Spaniards, or early in the twelfth century." But, 
however pleasing to the imagination, and however pop- 
ular, the legend of Manco Capac, it requires but little 
reflection to show its improbability, even when divested 
of supernatural accompaniments. On the shores of 
Lake Titicaca extensive ruins exist at the present day, 
which the Peruvians themselves acknowledge to be of 
older date than the pretended advent of the Incas, and 
to have furnished them with the models of their archi- 
tecture.'^ The date of their appearance, indeed, is 

" Some writers carry back the date five hundred, or even five hun- 
dred and fifty, years before the Spanish invasion. (Balboa, Histoire 
du Perou, chap. i.^Velasco, Histoire du Royaume de Quito, torn. i. 
R, 8i. — Ambo auct. ap. Relations et Memoires originaux pour servir 
k I'Histoire de la Dscouverte de TAmerique, par Ternaux-Compans 
(Paris, 1840).) In the Report of the Royal Audience of Peru, the 
epoch is more modestly fixed at two hundred years before the Con- 
quest. Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. 

'3 " Otras cosas ay mas que dezir deste Tiaguanaco, que passo por 
no detenerme : concluyedo que yo para mi tengo esta antigualla por 
la mas antigua de todo el Peru. Y assi se tiene que antes q los Ingas 
reynassen con muchos tiempos estavan hechos algunos edificios des- 
tos: porque yo he oydo afirmar a Indios, que los Ingas hizieron los 
edificios grandes del Cuzco por la forma que vieron tener la muralla 
o pared que se vee en este pueblo." (Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 
105.) See also Garcilasso (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 3, cap. i), who 
gives an account of these remains, on the authority of a Spanish 

seem, in particular, to deserve a closer investigation than they have 
yet received. Besides the authorities cited by Prescott, the relations 
of Christoval de Molina and the Indian Salcamayhua, translated by 
Mr. Markham, are entitled to mention, both for the minuteness and 
the variations with which they present the leading features of the same 
oft-repeated nature-myth. — ED.] 


manifestly irreconcilable with their subsequent history. 
No account assigns to the Inca dynasty more than 
thirteen princes before the Conquest. But this number 
is altogether too small to have spread over four hundred 
years, and would not carry back the foundations of the 
monarchy, on any probable computation, beyond two 
centuries and a half, — an antiquity not incredible in 
itself, and which, it may be remarked, does not precede 
by more than half a century the alleged foundation of 
the capital of Mexico. The fiction of Manco Capac 
and his sister-wife was devised, no doubt, at a later 
period, to gratify the vanity of the Peruvian monarchs, 
and to give additional sanction to their authority by 
deriving it from a celestial origin.* 

ecclesiastic, which might compare, for the marvellous, with any of the 
legends of his order. Other ruins of similar traditional antiquity are 
noticed by Herrera (Historia general de los Hechos de los Caste- 
llanos en las Islas y Tierra Finne del Mar Oceano (Madrid, 1730), 
dec. 6, lib. 6, cap. 9.) McCuUoh, in some sensible reflections on the 
origin of the Peruvian civilization, adduces, on the authority of Gar- 
cilasso de la Vega, the famous temple of Pachacamac, not far from 
Lima, as an example of architecture more ancient than that of the 
Incas. (Researches, Philosophical and Antiquarian, concerning the 
Aboriginal History of America (Baltimore, 1829), p. 405.) This, if 
true, would do much to confirm the views in our te.xt. But McCulloh 
is led into an error by his blind guide, Rycaut, the translator of Gar- 
cilasso, for the latter does not speak of the temple as existing before 
the time of the Incas, but before the time when the country was con- 
quered by the Incas. Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, cap. 30. 

* [This theory of the origin of the story is scarcely more plausible 
or philosophical than that of Garcilasso de la Vega, who conjectures 
that Manco Capac " may have been some Indian of good understand- 
ing, prudence, and judgment, who appreciated the great simplicity 
of those nations, and saw the necessity they had for instruction and 



We may reasonably conclude that there existed in 
the country a race advanced in civilization before the 
time of the Incas; and, in conformity with nearly every 

teaching in natural life. He may have invented a fable with sagacity 
and astuteness, that he might be respected ; saying that he and his 
wife were children of the Sun, who had come from Heaven, and that 
their Father had sent them to teach and do good to the people. . . . 
The belief in the fable of the Ynca's origin would be confirmed by 
the benefits and privileges he conferred on the Indians, until they at 
last firmly believed that he was the Child of the Sun, come from 
Heaven." (Markham's trans., i. 94.) Mr. Markham pronounces 
"all this sensible enough," and it at least indicates the true spirit, if 
not the right method, of investigation. But a wider comparison of 
popular traditions has led to a general rejection, in such cases as the 
present, of the idea of conscious invention — whether as idle fable or 
designed imposture — to account for their origin. The only question 
in regard to such a story is whether it is to be considered as purely 
mythical or as the mythical adaptation or development of an historical 
fact. In this instance Dr. Brinton takes the latter view, asserting that 
Manco Capac was "a real character," " first of the historical Incas," 
" the Rudolph of Hapsburg of their reigning family," who "flourished 
about the eleventh century," and to whom " tradition has transferred 
a portion of the story of Viracocha," the Peruvian deity. (Myths of 
the New World, 179.) Mr. Tylor, on the other hand, after noticing 
the legend of the Muyscas, a neighboring people, in which Bochica 
and Huythaca are evident personifications of the sun and moon, says, 
" Like to this in meaning, though different in fancy, is the civilization- 
myth of the Incas. ... In after-ages the Sun and Moon were still 
represented in rule and religion by the Inca and his sister-wife, con- 
tinuing the mighty race of Manco Capac and Mama Oello. But the 
two great ancestors returned when their earthly work was done, to 
become, what we may see they had never ceased to be, the sun and 
moon themselves." (Primitive Culture, i. 319.) It would not be in- 
consistent with a full acceptance of this theory to consider all such 
myths as veiling the real existence of men of superior endowments, to 
whom civilization must everywhere have owed its earliest develop- 
ments ; but to link them with the actual history of these personages 
would require very different evidence from what exists in the present 
or any similar case. — Ed.] 

Peru. — Vol. I. 2 


tradition, we may derive this race from the neighborhood 
of Lake Titicaca;''* a conclusion strongly confirmed by 
the imposing architectural remains which still endure, 
after the lapse of so many years, on its borders. Who 
this race were, and whence they came, may afford a 
tempting theme for inquiry to the speculative antiqua- 
rian. But it is a land of darkness that lies far beyond 
the domain of history. 's 

'4 Among other authorities for this tradition, see Sarmiento, Rela- 
cion, MS., cap. 3, 4, — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 6, — ■ 
Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS., — Zarate, Historia del Descubrimiento y 
de la Conquista del Peru, lib. i, cap. 10, ap. Barcia, Historiadores 
primitivos de las Indias occidentales (Madrid, 1749), torn. 3. — In 
most, not all, of the traditions, Manco Capac is recognized as the 
name of the founder of the Peruvian monarchy, though his history 
and character are related with sufficient discrepancy. 

'5 Mr. Ranking, 

" Who can deep mysteries unriddle 
As easily as thread a needle," 

finds it "highly probable that the first Inca of Peru was a son of the 
Grand Khan Kublai"! (Historical Researches on the Conquest of 
Peru, etc., by the Moguls (London, 1827), p. 170.) The coincidences 
are curious, though we shall hardly jump at the conclusion of the ad- 
venturous author. Every scholar will agree with Humboldt in the 
wish that "some learned traveller would visit the borders of the lake 
of 1 iticaca, the district of Callao, and the high plains of Tiahuanaco, 
the theatre of the ancient American civilization."' (Vues des Cor- 
dill^res, p. 199.) And yet the architectural monuments of the abo- 
rigines, hitherto brought to light, have furnished few materials for a 
bridge of communication across the dark gulf that still separates the 
Old World from the New.» 

■5 [The regions mentioned by Humboldt were visited in 1847 by a 
P'rench savant, M. Angrand, who brought away carefully-prep>ared 
plans of many of the ruins, of which a description is given by Desjar- 
dins (Le Perou avant la Conquete espagnole), tending to confirm the 
conclusions drawn from previous sources of information, that a civili- 



The same mists that hang round the origin of the 
Incas continue to settle on their subsequent annals ; 
and so imperfect were the records employed by the 
Peruvians, and so confused and contradictory their 
traditions, that the historian finds no firm footing on 
which to stand till within a century of the Spanish 
conquest.'* At first, the progress of the Peruvians 

'* A good deal within a century, to say truth. Garcilasso and Sar- 
miento, for example, the two ancient authorities in highest repute, 
have scarcely a point of contact in their accounts of the earlier Peri'- 
vian princes ; the former representing the sceptre as gliding down in 
peaceful succession from hand to hand through an unbroken dynasty 
while the latter garnishes his tale with as many conspiracies, deposi- 

zation, superior to that of the Incas, had passed away long before the 
period of the Spanish conquest. A work announced as in the press, 
by Mr. Hutchinson, formerly English consul in Peru, may be expected 
to give the fruits of more recent explorations. But it may be safely 
predicted that no discoveries that may be made will ever establish the 
fact of a communication at some remote period between the two hemi- 
spheres. It may be doubted, indeed, whether the whole inquiry, so 
persistently pursued, has not sprung from an illusion. Had the East- 
em Continent been discovered by a voyager from the Western, it 
would perhaps have been assumed that the latter had furnished those 
swarms which afterwards passed through Asia into Europe, and that 
here was the original seat of the human family and the spot where 
culture had first begun to dawn. Mr. James S.Wilson's discovery, 
on the coast of Ecuador, of articles of pottery and of gold, "in a 
stratum of mould beneath the sea-level, and covered by several feet of 
clay," proves, according to Murchison, that " within the human period 
the lands on the west coast of equatorial America were depressed and 
submerged; and that after the accumulation of marine clays above 
the terrestrial relics the whole coast was elevated to its present posi- 
tion." If, then, the existence not only of the human race, but of 
human art, in America, antedates the present conformation of the 
continent, how futile must be every attempt to connect its early history 
with that of Egypt or of India ! — ED.] 


seems to have been slow, and almost imperceptible. 
By their wise and temperate policy they gradually won 
over the neighboring tribes to their dominion, as these 
latter became more and more convinced of the benefits 
of a just and well-regulated government. As they 
grew stronger, they were enabled to rely more directly 
on force; but, still advancing under cover of the same 
beneficent pretexts employed by their predecessors, 
they proclaimed peace and civilization at the point of 
the sword. The rude nations of the country, without 
any principle of cohesion among themselves, fell one 
after another before the victorious arm of the Incas. 
Yet it was not till the middle of the fifteenth century 
that the famous Topa Inca Yupanqui, grandfather of 
the monarch who occupied the throne at the coming of 
the Spaniards, led his armies across the terrible desert 
of Atacama, and, penetrating to the southern region 
of Chili, fixed the permanent boundary of his domin- 
ions at the river Maule. His son, Huayna Capac, pos- 
sessed of ambition and military talent fully equal to 
his father's, marched along the Cordillera towards the 
north, and, pushing his conquests across the equator, 
added the powerful kingdom of Quito to the empire 
of Peru.'' 

tions, and revolutions as belong to most barbarous and, unhappily, 
most civilized communities. When to these two are added the various 
writers, contemporary and of the succeeding age, who have treated 
of the Peruvian annals, we shall find ourselves in such a conflict of 
traditions that criticism is lost in conjecture. Yet this uncertainty as 
to historical events fortunately does not extend to the history of arts 
and institutions which were in existence on the arrival of the Spaniards. 
»7 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 57, 64. — Conq. i Pob. del Pirn, 
MS.— Velasco, Hist, de Quito, p. 59.— Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS.— 



The ancient city of Cuzco, meanwhile, had been 
gradually advancing in wealth and population, till it 
had become the worthy metropolis of a great and flour- 
ishing monarchy. It stood in a beautiful valley on an 
elevated region of the plateau, which among the Alps 
would have been buried in eternal snows, but which 
w ithin the tropics enjoyed a genial and salubrious tem- 
perature. Towards the north it was defended by a 
lofty eminence, a spur of the great Cordillera; and* 
the city was traversed by a river, or rather a small 
stream, over which bridges of timber, covered with 
heavy slabs of stone, furnished an easy means of com- 
munication with the opposite banks. The streets were 
long and narrow, the houses low, and those of the 
poorer sort built of clay and reeds. But Cuzco was 
the royal residence, and was adorned with the ample 
dwellings of the great nobility ; and the massy frag- 
ments still incorporated in many of the modern 
edifices bear testimony to the size and solidity of the 

Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 7, cap. 18, 19; lib. 8, cap. 5-8. — 
The last historian, and, indeed, some others, refer the conquest of 
Chili to Yupanqui, the father of Topa Inca. The exploits of the two 
monarchs are so blended together by the different annalists as in a 
manner to confound their personal identity. 

'8 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 7, cap. 8-11. — Cieza de Leon, 
Cronica, cap. 92. — " El Cuzco tuuo gran manera y calidad, deuio ser 
fundada por gente de gran ser. Auia grandes calles, saluo q era 
angostas, y las casas hechas de piedra pura co tan lindas junturas, q 
illustra el antiguedad del edificio, pues estauan piedras tan grades 
muy bien assentadas." (Ibid., ubi supra.) Compare with this Mil- 
ler's account of the city as existing at the present day : " The walls 
of many of the houses have remained unaltered for centuries. The 
great size of the stones, the variety of their shapes, and the inimitable 



The health of the city was promoted by spacious 
openings and squares, in which a numerous population 
from the capital and the distant country assembled to 
celebrate the high festivals of their religion. For 
Cuzco was the "Holy City;"'' and the great temple 
of the Sun, to which pilgrims resorted from the farthest 
borders of the empire, was the most magnificent struc- 
ture in the New World, and unsurpassed, probably, in 
"the costliness of its decorations by any building in the 

Towards the north, on the sierra or rugged eminence 
already noticed, rose a strong fortress, the remains of 
which at the present day, by their vast size, excite the 
admiration of the traveller.™ It was defended by a 
single wall of great thickness, and twelve hundred feet 
long on the side facing the city, where the precipitous 
character of the ground was of itself almost sufficient 
for its defence. On the other quarter, where the 
approaches were less difficult, it was protected by two 
other semicircular walls of the same length as the pre- 
ceding. They were separated a considerable distance 
from one another and from the fortress; and the inter- 
workmanship they display, give to the city that interesting air of an- 
tiquity and romance which fills the mind with pleasing though painful 
veneration." Memoirs of Gen. Miller in the Sen-ice of the Republic 
of Peru (London, 1829, 2d ed.), vol. ii. p. 225. 

»9 " La Imperial Ciudad de Cozco, que la adoravan los Indios, como 
d Cosa Sagrada." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 3, cap. 20.- ■ 
Also Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. 

=° See, among others, the Memoirs, above cited, of Gen. Miller, 
which contain a minute and very interesting notice of modem Cuzco. 
(Vol. ii. p. 223, et seq.) Ulloa, who visited the country in the middle 
of the last century, is unbounded in his expressions of admiration. 
Voyage to South America, Eng. trans. (London, 1806), book vii. ch. 12. 



veiling ground was raised so that the walls afforded a 
breastwork for the troops stationed there in times of 
assault. The fortress consisted of three towers, de- 
tached from one another. One was appropriated to 
the Inca, and was garnished with the sumptuous deco- 
rations befitting a royal residence rather than a military 
post. The other two were held by the garrison, drawn 
from the Peruvian nobles, and commanded by an officer 
of the blood royal ; for the position was of too great 
importance to be intrusted to inferior hands. The hill 
was excavated below the towers, and several subter- 
raneous galleries communicated with the city and the 
palaces of the Inca." 

The fortress, the walls, and the galleries were all 
built of stone, the heavy blocks of which were not laid 
in regular courses, but so disposed that the small ones 
might fill up the interstices between the great. They 
formed a sort of rustic work, being rough-hewn except 
towards the edges, which were finely wrought ; and, 
though no cement was used, the several blocks were 
adjusted with so much exactness and united so closely 
that it was impossible to introduce even the blade of a 
knife between them." Many of these stones were of 

" Betanzos, Suma y Narracion de los Yngas, MS., cap. 12. — Gar- 
cilasso, Com. Real., Parte I, lib. 7, cap. 27-29. — The demolition of 
the fortress, begun immediately after the Conquest, provoked the 
remonstrance of more than one enlightened Spaniard, whose voice, 
however, was impotent against the spirit of cupidity and violence. 
See Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 48. 

^ Ibid., ubi supra. — Inscripciones, Medallas, Templos, Edificios, 
Antigiicdades, y Monumentos del Peru, MS. This manuscript, which 
formerly belonged to Dr. Robertson, and which is now in the British 
Museum, is the work of some unknown author, somewhere probably 
about the time of Charles III.,— a period when, as the sagacious 


vast size; some of them being full thirt}' eight feet 
long, by eighteen broad, and six feet thick. ^ 

We are filled with astonishment when we consider 
that these enormous masses were hewn from their native 
bed and fashioned into shape by a people ignorant of 
the use of iron ; that they were brought from quarries, 
from four to fifteen leagues distant,^'' without the aid 
of beasts of burden ; were transported across rivers 
and ravines, raised to their elevated position on the 
sierra, and finally adjusted there with the nicest accu- 
racy, without the knowledge of tools and machinery 
familiar to the European. Twenty thousand men are 
said to have been employed on this great structure, and 
fifty years consumed in the building. -s However this 
may be, we see in it the workings of a despotism which 
had the lives and fortunes of its vassals at its absolute 
disposal, and which, however mild in its general char- 
acter, esteemed these vassals, when employed in its 
service, as lightly as the brute animals for which they 
served as a substitute. 

scholar to whom I am indebted for a copy of it remarks, a spirit of 
sounder criticism was visible in the Castilian historians. 

»3 Acosta, Naturall and Morall Historic of the East and West 
Indies, Eng. trans. (London, 1604), lib. 6, cap. 14. — He measured 
the stones himself. — See also Garcilasso, Com. Real., loc. cit. 

** Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 93. — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — 
Many hundred blocks of granite may still be seen, it is said, in an 
unfinished state, in a quarry near Cuzco. 

»s Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 48. — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. 
— Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 7, cap. 27, 28. — The Spaniards, 
puzzled by the execution of so great a work with such apparently in- 
adequate means, referred it all, in their summary way, to the D?vil ; 
an opinion which Garcilasso seems willing to indorse. The author of 
the Antig. y Monumentos del Peru, MS., rejects this notion with 
becoming gravity. 


The fortress of Cuzco was but part of a system of 
fortifications established throughout their dominions by 
the Incas. This system formed a prominent feature in 
their military policy; but before entering on this latter 
it will be proper to give the reader some view of their 
civil institutions and scheme of government. 

The sceptre of the Incas, if we may credit their his- 
torian, descended in unbroken succession from father 
to son, through their whole dynasty. Whatever we 
may think of this, it appears probable that the right of 
inheritance might be claimed by the eldest son of the 
Coya, or lawful queen, as she was styled, to distinguish 
her from the host of concubines who shared the affec- 
tions of the sovereign."* The queen was further dis- 
tinguished, at least in later reigns, by the circumstance 
of being selected from the sisters of the Inca, an 
arrangement which, however revolting to the ideas of 
civilized nations, was recommended to the Peruvians by 
its securing an heir to the crown of the pure heaven-born 
race, uncontaminated by any mixture of earthly mould. '^^ 

** Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 7. — Garcilasso, Com. FTeal., Parte 
I, lib. 1, cap. 26. — Acosta speaks of the eldest brother of the Inca as 
succeeding in preference to the son (lib. 6, cap. 12). He may have 
confounded the Peruvian with the Aztec usage. The Report of the 
Royal Audience states that a brother succeeded in default of a son. 
Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. 

^ " Et soror et conjux." According to Garcilasso, the heir-apparent 
always married a sister. (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 9.) Onde- 
gardo notices this as an innovation at the close of the fifteenth cen- 
tury. (Relacion Primera, MS.) The historian of the Incas, however, 
is confirmed in his extraordinary statement by Sarmiento. Relacion. 
MS., cap. 7.* 

* ["The sister-marriage of the Incas," remarks Mr. Tylor, "had in 
their religion at once a meaning and a justification," — as typifying, 


In his early years, the royal offspring was intrusted 
to the care of the amautas, or "wise men," as the 
teachers of Peruvian science were called, who instructed 
him in such elements of knowledge as they possessed, 
and especially in the cumbrous ceremonial of their 
religion, in which he was to take a prominent part. 
Great care was also bestowed on his military education, 
of the last importance in a state which, with its profes- 
sions of peace and good will, was ever at war for the 
acquisition of empire. 

In this military school he was educated with such of 
the Inca nobles as were nearly of his own age; for the 
sacred name of Inca — a fruitful source of obscurity in 
their annals — was applied indifferently to all who de- 
scended by the male line from the founder of the mon- 
archy.** At the age of sixteen the pupils underwent a 
public examination, previous to their admission to what 
may be called the order of chivalry. This examination 
was conducted by some of the oldest and most illus- 
trious Incas. The candidates were required to show 
their prowess in the athletic exercises of the warrior; 
in wrestling and boxing, in running such long courses 
as fully tried their agility and strength, in severe fasts 
of several days' duration, and in mimic combats, which, 
although the weapons were blunted, were always at- 
tended with wounds, and sometimes with death. During 

»* Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. i, cap. 26. 

namely, the supposed relation of the sun and moon, like the Egyptian 
Osiris and Isis. (Primitive Culture, i. 261.) It may, however, indi- 
cate also different ideas from those of our race in regard to consan- 
guinity. See Morgan, Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of tho 
Human Family (Smithsonian Contributions). — Ed.] 



this trial, which lasted thirty days, the royal neophyte 
fared no better than his comrades, sleeping on the bare 
ground, going unshod, and wearing a mean attire, — 
a mode of life, it was supposed, which might tend to 
inspire him with more sympathy with the destitute. 
With all this show of impartiality, however, it will 
probably be doing no injustice to the judges to suppose 
that a politic discretion may have somewhat quickened 
their perceptions of the real merits of the heir-apparent. 
At the end of the appointed time, the candidates 
selected as worthy of the honors of their barbaric 
chivalry were presented to the sovereign, who conde- 
scended to take a principal part in the ceremony of 
inauguration. He began with a brief discourse, in 
which, after congratulating the young aspirants on the 
proficiency they had shown in martial exercises, he re- 
minded them of the responsibilities attached to their 
birth and station, and, addressing them affectionately 
as "children of the Sun," he exhorted them to imitate 
their great progenitor in his glorious career of benefi- 
cence to mankind. The novices then drew near, and, 
kneeling one by one before the Inca, he pierced their 
ears with a golden bodkin; and this was suffered to 
remain there till an opening had been made large enough 
for the enormous pendants which were peculiar to their 
order, and which gave them, with the Spaniards, the 
name of orejones.''^ This ornament was so massy in the 

»9 From oreja, " ear." — " Los caballeros de la sangre Real tenian 
orejas horadadas, y de ellas colgando grandes rodetes de plata y oro: 
llamaronles por esto los orejones los Castellanos la primera vez que 
los vieron." (Montesinos, Memorias antiguas historiales del Peru, 
MS., lib. 2, cap. 6.) The ornament, which was in the form of a 
wheel, did not depend from the ear, but was inserted in the gristle of 


ears of the sovereign that the cartilage was distended 
by it nearly to the shoulder, producing what seemed a 
monstrous deformity in the eyes of the Europeans, 
though, under the magical influence of fashion, it was 
regarded as a beauty by the natives. 

When this operation was performed, one of the most 
venerable of the nobles dressed the feet of the candi- 
dates in the sandals worn by the order, which may 
remind us of the ceremony of buckling on the spurs 
of the Christian knight. They were then allowed to 
assume the girdle or sash around the loins, correspond • 
ing with the toga virilis of the Romans, and intimating 
that they had reached the season of manhood. Their 
heads were adorned with garlands of flowers, which, by 
their various colors, were emblematic of the clemency 
and goodness that should grace the character of every 
true warrior; and the leaves of an evergreen plant were 
mingled with the flowers, to show that these virtues 
should endure without end. 3° The prince's head was 
further ornamented by a fillet, or tasselled fringe, of a 
yellow color, made of the fine threads of the vicuna 
wool, which encircled the forehead as the peculiar in- 
signia of the heir-apparent. The great body of the 
Inca nobility next made their appearance, and, begin- 
ning with those nearest of kin, knelt down before the 
prince and did him homage as successor to the crown. 

it, and was as large as an orange. " La hacen tan ancha como una 
gran rosea de naranja; los Senores i Principales traian aquellas roscas 
dj ore fino en las orejas." (Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS.— .-Mso Gar- 
cilasso. Com. Real., Parte i, cap. 22.) " The larger the hole," says 
one of the old Conquerors, "the more of a gentleman!" Pedro 
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 
*> Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. G, cap. 27. 


The whole assembly then moved to the great square of 
the capital, where songs and dances and other public 
festivities closed the important ceremonial of the 

The reader will be less surprised by the resemblance 
which this ceremonial bears to the inauguration of a 
Christian knight in the feudal ages, if he reflects that a 
similar analogy may be traced in the institutions of 
other people more or less civilized, and that it is natural 
that nations occupied with the one great business of 
war should mark the period when the preparatory 
education for it was ended, by similar characteristic 

Having thus honorably passed through his ordeal, 
the heir-apparent was deemed worthy to sit in the 
councils of his father, and was employed in offices of 
trust at home, or, more usually, sent on distant expe- 
ditions to practise in the field the lessons which he had 
hitherto studied only on the mimic theatre of war. 
His frst campaigns were conducted under the renowned 
commanders who had grown gray in the service of his 
father, until, advancing in years and experience, he 
was placed in command himself, and, like Huayna 
Capac, the last and most illustrious of his line, carried 
the banner of the rainbow, the armorial ensign of his 
house, far over the borders, among the remotest tribes 
of the plateau. 

The government of Peru was a despotism, mild in 

3« Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, cap. 24-28.— According 
to Fernandez, the candidates wore white shirts, with something like a 
cross embroidered in front! (Historia del Peru (Sevilla, 1571), Parte 
2, lib. 3, cap. 6.) We may fancy ourselves occupied with some chiv- 
alrous ceremonial of the Middle Ages. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — B 3 


its character, but in its form a pure and unmitigated 
despotism. The sovereign was placed at an immeas- 
urable distance above his subjects. Even the proudest 
of the Inca nobility, claiming a descent from the same 
divine original as himself, could not venture into the 
royal presence, unless barefoot, and bearing a light 
burden on his shoulders in token of homage.^ As the 
representative of the Sun, he stood at the head of the 
priesthood, and presided at the most important of the 
religious festivals. '^ He raised armies, and usually 
commanded them in person. He imposed taxes, made 
laws, and provided for their execution by the appoint- 
ment of judges, whom he removed at pleasure. He 
was the source from which every thing flowed, — all 
dignity, all power, all emolument. He was, in short, 
in the well-known phrase of the European despot, 
"himself the state. "^^ 

3» Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. ii. — Sarmiento, Relacion, 
MS., cap. 7. — " Porque verdaderamente i. lo que yo he averiguado 
toda la pretension de los Ingas fue una subjeccion en toda la gente, 
qual yo nunca he oido decir de ninguna otra nacion en tanto grade, 
que por muy principal que un Senor fuese, dende que entrava cerca 
del Cuzco en cierta serial que estava puesta en cada camino de quatro 
que hay, havia dende alii de venir cargado hasta la presencia del 
Inga, y alii dejava la carga y hacia su obediencia." Ondegardo, Rel 
Prim., MS. 

33 It was only at one of these festivals, and hardly authorizes the 
sweeping assertion of Carli that the royal and sacerdotal authority 
were blended together in Peru. We shall see, hereafter, the important 
an 1 independent position occupied by the high-priest. " Le Sacer- 
doce et I'Empire etoient divises au Mexique; au lieu qu'ils etoient 
rdunis au Perou, comme au Tibet et k la Chine, et comme il le fut k 
Rome, lorsqu' Auguste jetta les fondemens de I'Empire, en y reunis- 
sant le Sacerdoce ou la dignite de Souverain Pontife." Lettres 
Amdricaines (Paris, 1788), trad. Fran9., tom. i. let. 7. 

M " Porque el Inga dava i. entcnder que era hijo del Sol, con este 



The Inca asserted his claims as a superior being by 
assuming a pomp in his manner of living well calcu- 
lated to impose on his people. His dress was of the 
finest wool of the vicuna, richly dyed, and ornamented 
with a profusion of gold and precious stones. Round 
his head was wreathed a turban of many-colored folds, 
called the llaiitu, with a tasselled fringe, like that worn 
by the prince, but of a scarlet color, while two feathers 
of a rare and curious bird, called the coraquenque, 
placed upright in it, were the distinguishing insignia 
of royalty. The birds from which these feathers were 
obtained were found in a desert country among the 
mountains; and it was death to destroy or to take them, 
as they were reserved for the exclusive purpose of sup- 
plying the royal head-gear. Every succeeding monarch 
was provided with a new pair of these plumes, and his 
credulous subjects fondly believed that only two indi- 
viduals of the species had ever existed to furnish the 
simple ornament for the diadem of the Incas.^' 

Although the Peruvian monarch was raised so far 
above the highest of his subjects, he condescended to 
mingle occasionally with them, and took great pains 
personally to inspect the condition of the humbler 
classes. He presided at some of the religious celebra- 
tions, and on these occasions entertained the great 
nobles at his table, when he complimented them, after 

titulo se hacia adorar, i governava principalmente en tanto grado que 
nadie se le atrevia, i su palabra era ley, i nadie osaba ir contra su 
palabra ni voluntad ; aunque obiese de matar cient mill Indies, no 
havia ninguno en su Reino que le osase decir que no lo hiciese." 
Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

35 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. i, cap. 22 ; Ub. 6, cap. 28.— 
CiezT '*« Leon, Cronica, cap. 114. — Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 12. 


the fashion of more civilized nations, by drinking the 
health of those whom he most delighted to honor.^* 

But the most effectual means taken by the Incas for 
communicating with their people were their progresses 
through the empire. These were conducted, at inter- 
vals of several years, with great state and magnificence. 
The sedan, or litter, in which they travelled, richly em- 
blazoned with gold and emeralds, was guarded by a 
numerous escort. The men who bore it on their shoul- 
ders were provided by two cities, specially appointed 
for the purpose. It was a post to be coveted by no 
one, if, as is asserted, a fall was punished with death. ^ 
They travelled with ease and expedition, halting at the 
tambos, or inns, erected by government along the route, 
and occasionally at the royal palaces, which in the great 
towns afforded ample accommodations to the whole of 
the monarch's retinue. The noble roads which trav- 

36 One would hardly expect to find among the American Indians 
this social and kindly custom of our Saxon ancestors, — now fallen 
somewhat out of use, in the capricious innovations of modem fashion. 
Garcilasso is diffuse in his account of the forms observed at the royal 
table. (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, cap. 23.) The only hours of eat- 
ing were at eight or nine in the "morning, and at sunset, which took 
place at nearly the same time, in all seasons, in the latitude of Cuzco. 
The historian of the Incas admits that, though temperate in eating, 
they indulged freely in their cups, frequently prolonging tlieir revelry 
to a late hour of the night. Ibid., Parte i, lib. 6. cap. i. 

37 " In lectica, aureo tabulate constrata, humeris ferebant ; in summa, 
ea erat observantia, vt vultum ejus intueri maxime incivile putarent, et 
inter baiulos, quicunque vel leviter pede offenso haesitaret, e vestigio 
inierficerent." Levinus Apollonius, De Peruvice Regioris Inventione, 
et Rebus in eadem gestis (Antverpiae, 1567), fol. 37. — Zarate, Conq. 
del Peru, lib. i. cap. 11. — According to this writer, the litter was car- 
ried by the nobles ; one thousand of whom were specially reserved 
for the humiliating hcnor. Ubi supra. 



ersed the table-land were lined with people, who swept 
away the stones and stubble from their surface, strewing 
them with sweet-scented flowers, and vying with each 
other in carrying forward the baggage from one village 
to another. The monarch halted from time to time to 
listen to the grievances of his subjects, or to settle 
some points which had been referred to his decision by 
the regular tribunals. As the princely train wound its 
way along the mountain-passes, every place was thronged 
with spectators eager to catch a glimpse of their sove- 
reign; and when he raised the curtains of his litter 
and showed himself to their eyes, the air was rent with 
acclamations as they invoked blessings on his head.^' 
Tradition long commemorated the spots at which he 
halted, and the simple people of the country held them 
in reverence as places consecrated by the presence of 
an Inca.3' 

The royal palaces were on a magnificent scale, and, 
far from being confined to tlie capital or a few principal 
towns, were scattered over all the provinces of their 
vast empire.''" The buildings were low, but covered a 

38 The acclamations must have been potent indeed, if, as Sarmiento 
tells us, they sometimes brought the birds down from the sky ! " De 
esta manera eran tan temidos los Reyes que si salian por el Reyno y 
permitian alzar algun pano de los que iban en las andas para dejarse 
ver de sus vasallos, alzaban tan gran alarido que hacian caer las aves 
de lo alto donde iban volando d ser tomadas d manos." (Relacion, 
MS., cap. 10.) The same author has given in another place a more 
credible account of the royal progresses, which the Spanish reader 
will find extracted in Appendix No. i. 

39 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 3, cap. 14; lib. 6, cap. 3.— 
Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 11. 

•40 Velasco has given some account of several of these palaces situ- 
ated in different places in the kingdom of Quito. Hist, de Quito 
torn. i. pp. 195-197. 




wide extent of ground. Some of the apartments were 
spacious, but they were generally small, and had no 
communication with one another, except that they 
opened into a common square or court. The walls 
were made of blocks of stone of various sizes, like 
those described in the fortress of Cuzco, rough-hewn, 
but carefully wrought near the line of junction, which 
was scarcely visible to the eye. The roofs were of 
wood or rushes, which have perished under the rude 
touch of time, that has shown more respect for the 
walls of the edifices. The whole seems to have been 
characterized by solidity and strength, rather than by 
any attempt at architectural elegance."" 

But whatever want of elegance there may have been 
in the exterior of the imperial dwellings, it was amply 
compensated by the interior, in which all the opulence 
of the Peruvian princes was ostentatiously displayed. 
The sides of the apartments were thickly studded with 
gold and silver ornaments. Niches, prepared in the 
walls, were filled with images of animals and plants 
curiously wrought of the same costly materials; and 
even much of the domestic furniture, including the 
utensils devoted to the most ordinary menial services, 
displayed the like wanton magnificence ! ♦* With these 

♦• Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 44. — Antig. y Monumentos de 
Peru, MS. — See, among others, the description of the remains still 
existing of the royal buildings at Callo, about ten leagues south of 
Quito, by Ulloa, Voyage to South America, book 6, ch. 11, and since, 
more carefully, by Humboldt, Vues des Cordillferes, p. 197. 

*» Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, cap. i. — " Tanto que todo 
el servicio de la Casa del Rey asi de cantaras para su vino, como de 
coziiia, todo era oro y plata, y esto no en un lugar y en una parte lo 
tenia, sino en muchas." (Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 11.) See 
also the flaming accounts of the palaces of Bilcas, to the west of 


gorgeous decorations were mingled richly-colored stuffs 
of the delicate manufacture of the Peruvian wool, which 
were of so beautiful a texture that the Spanish sove- 
reigns, with all the luxuries of Europe and Asia at their 
command, did not disdain to use them/^ The royal 
household consisted of a throng of menials, supplied 
by the neighboring towns and villages, which, as in 
Mexico, were bound to furnish the monarch with fuel 
and other necessaries for the consumption of the 

But the favorite residence of the Incas was at Yucay, 
about four leagues distant from the capital. In this 
delicious valley, locked up within the friendly arms of 
the sierra, which sheltered it from the rude breezes of 
the east, and refreshed by gushing fountains and streams 
of running water, they built the most beautiful of their 
palaces. Here, when wearied with the dust and toil 
of the city, they loved to retreat, and solace themselves 
with the society of their favorite concubines, wander- 
ing amidst groves and airy gardens, that shed around 
their soft, intoxicating odors and lulled the senses to 
voluptuous repose. Here, too, they loved to indulge 
in the luxury of their baths, replenished by streams of 
crystal water which were conducted through subter- 
raneous silver channels into basins of gold. The spa- 

Cuzco, by Cieza de Leon, as reported to him by Spaniards who had 
seen them in their glory. (Cronica, cap. 89.) The niches are still 
described by modern travellers as to be found in the walls. (Hum- 
boldt, Vues des Cordilleres, p. 197.) 

43 "La ropa de la cania toda era de mantas, y fre9adas de lana de 
Vicuna, que es tan fina, y tan regalada, que entre otras cosas precia- 
das de aquellas Tierras, se las han traido para la cama del Rey Dot 
Phelipe Segundo." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, cap. i. 



cious gardens were stocked with numerous varieties of 
plants and flowers that grew without effort in this tem- 
perate region of the tropics, while parterres of a rriore 
extraordinary kind were planted by their side, glowing 
with the various forms of vegetable life skilfully imitated 
in gold and silver ! Among them the Indian corn, the 
most beautiful of American grains, is particularly com- 
memorated, and the curious workmanship is noticed 
with which the golden ear was half disclosed amidst 
the broad leaves of silver, and the light tassel of the 
same material that floated gracefully from its top."^ 

If this dazzling picture staggers the faith of the 
reader, he may reflect that the Peruvian mountains 
teemed with gold ; that the natives understood the art 
of working the mines, to a considerable extent ; that 
none of the ore, as we shall see hereafter, was con- 
verted into coin, and that the whole of it passed into 
the hands of the sovereign for his own exclusive benefit, 
whether for purposes of utility or ornament. Certain 
it is that no fact is better attested by the Conquerors 
themselves, who had ample means of information, and 
no motive for misstatement. The Italian poets, in 
their gorgeous pictures of the gardens of Alcina and 
Morgana, came nearer the truth than they imagined. 

Our surprise, however, may reasonably be excited 
when we consider that the wealth displayed by the 
Peruvian princes was only that which each had amassed 

44 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 26; lib. 6, cap. 2. — 
Sumiiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 24. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 94, 
— The last writer speaks of a cement, made in part of liquid gold, as 
used in the royal buildings of Tambo, a valley not far from Yucay ! 
(Ubi supra.) We may excuse the Spaniards for demolishing such 
edifices,---if they ever met with them. 



individually for himself. He owed nothing to inherit 
ance from his predecessors. On the decease of an Inca, 
his palaces were abandoned ; all his treasures, except 
what were employed in his obsequies, his furniture and 
apparel, were suffered to remain as he left them, and 
his mansions, save one, were closed up forever. The 
new sovereign was to provide himself with every thing 
new for his royal state. The reason of this was the 
popular belief that the soul of the departed monarch 
would return after a time to re-animate his body on 
earth; and they wished that he should find everything 
to which he had been used in life prepared for his 
reception. •*5 

When an Inca died, or, to use his own language, 
"was called home to the mansions of his father, the 
Sun,"^^ his obsequies were celebrated with great pomp 
and solemnity. The bowels were taken from the body 
and deposited in the temple of Tampu, about five 
leagues from the capital. A quantity of his plate and 
jewels was buried with them, and a number of his 
attendants and favorite concubines, amounting some- 
times, it is said, to a thousand, were immolated on his 
tomb.*^ Some of them showed the natural repugnance 
to the sacrifice occasionally manifested by the victims 

<s Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 12. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, 
cap. 4. 

4* The Aztecs, also, believed that the soul of the warrior who fell in 
battle went to accompany the Sun in his bright progress through the 
heavens. (See Conquest of Mexico, book i, chap. 3.) 

47 Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. — Acosta, lib. 5, cap. 6. — Four thou- 
sand of these victims, according to Sarmiento, — we may hope it is an 
exaggeration, — graced the funeral obsequies of Huayna Capac, the last 
of the Incasbefore the coming of the Spaniards. Relacion, MS., cap. 65. 



of a similar superstition in India. But these were 
probably the menials and more humble attendants; 
since the women have been known, in more than one 
instance, to lay violent hands on themselves, when re- 
strained from testifying their fidelity by this act of 
conjugal martyrdom. This melancholy ceremony was 
followed by a general mourning throughout the empire. 
At stated intervals, for a year, the people assembled to 
renew the expressions of their sorrow; processions 
were made, displaying the banner of the departed 
monarch; bards and minstrels were appointed to chron- 
icle his achievements, and their songs continued to be 
rehearsed at high festivals in the presence of the reign- 
ing monarch, — thus stimulating the living by the glo- 
rious example of the dead."** 

The body of the deceased Inca was skilfully em- 
balmed, and removed to the great temple of the Sun 
at Cuzco. There the Peruvian sovereign, on entering 
the awful sanctuary, might behold the effigies of his 
royal ancestors, ranged in opposite files, — the men on 
the right, and their queens on the left, of the great 
luminary which blazed in refulgent gold on the walls 
of the temple. The bodies, clothed in the princely 
attire which they had been accustomed to wear, were 
placed on chairs of gold, and sat with their heads in- 
clined downward, their hands placidly crossed over 
their bosoms, their countenances exhibiting their natural 
dusky hue, — less liable to change than the fresher color- 
ing of a European complexion, — and their hair of raven 
black, or silvered over with age, according to the period 

<8 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 62. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 
I, lib. 6, cap. 5. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 8. 



at which they died ! It seemed like a company of 
solemn worshippers fixed in devotion, — so true were the 
forms and lineaments to life. The Peruvians were as 
successful as the Egyptians in the miserable attempt to 
perpetuate the existence of the body beyond the limits 
assigned to it by nature/' 

They cherished a still stranger illusion in the atten- 
tions which they continued to pay to these insensible 
remains, as if they were instinct with life. One of the 
houses belonging to a deceased Inca was kept open and 
occupied by his guard and attendants, with all the state 
appropriate to royalty. On certain festivals, the revered 
bodies of the sovereigns were brought out with great 
ceremony into the public square of the capital. Invi- 
tations were sent by the captains of the guard of the 
respective Incas to the different nobles and officers of 
the court; and entertainments were provided in the 

49 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 5, cap. 29. — The Peruvians secreted these mummies of their 
sovereigns after the Conquest, that they might not be profaned by the 
insults of the Spaniards. Ondegardo, when corregidor of Cuzeo, dis- 
covered five of them, three male and two female. The former were 
the bodies of Viracocha, of the great Tupac Inca Yupanqui, and of 
his son Huayna Capac. Garcilasso saw them in 1560. They were 
dressed in their regal robes, with no insignia but the llautu on their 
heads. They were in a sitting posture, and, to use his own expres- 
sion, " perfect as life, without so much as a hair or an eyebrow want- 
ing." As they were carried through the streets, decently shrouded 
with a mantle, the Indians threw themselves on their knees, in sign of 
reverence, with many tears and groans, and were still more touched 
as they beheld some of the Spaniards themselves doffing their caps, in 
token of respect to departed royalty. (Ibid., ubi supra.) The bodies 
were subsequently removed to Lima ; and Father Acosta, who saw 
them there some twenty years later, speaks of them as still in perfect 


names of their masters, which displayed all the profuse 
magnificence of their treasures, — and "such a display," 
says an ancient chronicler, "was there in the great square 
of CuzcD, on this occasion, of gold and silver plate and 
jewels, as no other city in the world ever witnessed. "5* 
The banquet was served by the menials of the respective 
households, and the guests partook of the melancholy 
cheer in the presence of the royal phantom with the 
same attention to the forms of courtly etiquette as if 
the living monarch had presided ! 5' 

The nobility of Peru consisted of two orders, the 
first and by far the most important of which was that 
of the Incas, who, boasting a common descent with 
their sovereign, lived, as it were, in the reflected light 
of his glory. As the Peruvian monarchs availed them- 
selves of the right of polygamy to a very liberal extent, 
leaving behind them families of one or even two hun- 
dred children, 5= the nobles of the blood royal, though 

5° " Tenemos por muy cierto que ni en Jerusalem, Roma, ni en 
Persia, ni en ninguna parte del mundo por ninguna Republica ni Rey 
de el, se juntaba en un lugar tanta riqueza de Metales de oro y Plata 
y Pedreria como en esta Plaza del Cuzco ; quando estas fiestas y otras 
semejantes se hacian." Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 27. 

S' Idem, Relacion, MS., cap. 8, 27. — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — 
It was only, however, the great and good princes that were thus hon- 
ored, according to Sarmiento, "whose souls the silly people fondly 
believed, on account of their virtues, were in heaven, although, in 
truth," as the same writer assures us, " they were all the time burning 
in the flames of hell " 1 " Digo los que haviendo sido en vida buenos 
y valerosos, generosos con los Indies en les hacer mercedes, perdona- 
dores de injurias, porque d estos tales canonizaban en su ceguedad por 
Santos y honrraban sushuesos, sin entender que las animas ardian en 
los Ynfiemos y creian que estaban en el Cielo." Ibid., ubi supra. 

S» Garcilasso says over three hundred! (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 
3, cap. 19.) The fact, though ratlier startling, is not incredible, if, lik* 


comprehending only their descendants in the male 
line, came in the course of years to be very numer- 
ous.?3 They were divided into different lineages, each 
of which traced its pedigree to a different member of 
the royal dynasty, though all terminated in the divine 
founder of the empire. 

They were distinguished by many exclusive and 
very important privileges ; they wore a peculiar dress, 
spoke a dialect, if we may believe the chronicler, pecu- 
liar to themselves, s* and had the choicest portion of the 
public domain assigned for their support. They lived, 
most of them, at court, near the person of the prince, 
sharing in his counsels, dining at his board, or sup- 
plied from his table. They alone were admissible to 
the great offices in the priesthood. They were invested 
with the command of armies and of distant garrisons, 

Huayna Capac, they counted seven hundred wives in their seraglio. 
See Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 7. 

53 Garcilasso mentions a class of Incas por privilegio, who were 
allowed to possess the name and many of the immunities of the blood 
royal, though only descended from the great vassals that first served 
under the banner of Manco Capac. (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. i, cap. 
22.) This important fact, to which he often refers, one would be glad 
to see confirmed by a single authority. 

54 " Los Incas tuvieron otra Lengua particular, que hablavan entre 
ellos, que no la entendian los demks Indios, ni les era licito apren- 
derla, como Lenguage Divino. Esta me escriven del Peru, que se ha 
perdido totalmente ; porque como perecio la Republica particular de 
los Incas, pereci6 tambien el Lenguage dellos." Garcilasso, Com. 
Real., Parte i, lib. 7, cap. i.*' 

* [An analysis of fifteen words preserved by Garcilasso has led to 
the conclusion that the supposed secret language of the Incas was 
only a dialect of the common tongue. Meyen, Ueber die Ureinbe- 
wohner von Peru, cited by Brinton, Myths of the New World, p, 
31.— Ed.] 

Peru.— Vol. I. 4 


were placed over the provinces, and, in short, filled 
every station of high trust and emolument." Even 
the laws, severe in their general tenor, seem not to 
have been framed with reference to them ; and the 
people, investing the whole order with a portion of the 
sacred character which belonged to the sovereign, held 
that an Inca noble was incapable of crime. ^^ 

The other order of nobility was the Curacas, the 
caciques of the conquered nations, or their descend- 
ants. They were usually continued by the government 
in their places, though they were required to visit the 
capital occasionally, and to allow their sons to be edu- 
cated there as the pledges of their loyalty. It is not 
easy to define the nature or extent of their privileges. 
They were possessed of more or less power, according 
to the extent of their patrimony and the number of 
their vassals. Their authority was usually transmitted 
from father to son, though sometimes the successor 
was chosen by the people." They did not occupy the 
highest posts of state, or those nearest the person of 
the sovereign, like the nobles of the blood. Their 

55 " Una sola gente hallo yo que era exenta, que eran los Ingas del 
Cuzco y por alii al rededor de ambas parcialidades, porque estos no 
solo no pagavan tributo, pero aun comian de lo que traian al Inga de 
todo el reino, y estos eran por la mayor parte los Govemadores en 
todo el reino, y por donde quiera que iban se les hacia mucha honrra." 
Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 

56 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 15. 

57 In this event, it seems, the successor named was usually presented 
to the Inca for confirmation. (Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS.) At other 
times the Inca himself selected the heir from among the children of 
the deceased Curaca. " In short," says Ondegardo, " there was no 
rule of sucDession so sure, but it might be set aside by the supreme 
will of the sovereign." Rel. Prim., MS. 


authority seems to have been usually local, and always 
in subordination to the territorial jurisdiction of the 
great provincial governors, who were taken from the 

It was the Inca nobility, indeed, who constituted 
the real strength of the Peruvian monarchy. Attached 
to their prince by ties of consanguinity, they had com- 
mon sympathies and, to a considerable extent, common 
interests with him. Distinguished by a peculiar dress 
and insignia, as well as by language and blood, from 
the rest of the community, they were never confounded 
with the other tribes and nations who were incorpo- 
rated into the great Peruvian monarchy. After the 
lapse of centuries they still retained their individuality 
as a peculiar people. They were to the conquered 
races of the country what the Romans were to the bar- 
barous hordes of the Empire, or the Normans to the 
ancient inhabitants of the British Isles. Clustering 
around the throne, they formed an invincible phalanx 
to shield it alike from secret conspiracy and open in- 
surrection. Though living chiefly in the capital, they 
were also distributed throughout the country in all its 
high stations and strong military posts, thus establish- 
ing lines of communication with the court, which 
enabled the sovereign to act simultaneously and with 
effect on the most distant quarters of his empire. 
They possessed, moreover, an intellectual pre-emi- 
nence, which, no less than their station, gave them 
authority with the people. Indeed, it may be said to 

58 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 10. — Sarmiento, Re- 
lacion, MS., cap. 11. — Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Cieza de Leon, 
Cronica, cap. 93. — Conq. i Pob. del Firu, MS. 



have been the principal foundation of their authority. 
The crania of the Inca race show a decided superiority 
over the other races of the land in intellectual power ;S9 
and it cannot be denied that it was the fountain of that 
peculiar civilization and social polity which raised the 
Peruvian monarchy above every other state in South 
America. Whence this remarkable race came, and 
what was its early history, are among those mysteries 
that meet us so frequently in the annals of the New 
World, and which time and the antiquary have as yet 
done little to explain.* 

59 Dr. Morton's valuable work contains several engravings of both 
the Inca and the common Peruvian skull, showing that the facial angle 
in the former, though by no means great, was much larger than that 

* [The wildest speculations on this point have not been those of 
early writers, unguided by any principles of philological or ethnological 
science, and accustomed to regard the Hebrew Scriptures as the sole 
fountain of knowledge in regard to the origin and diffusion of the 
human race. Modern research in matters of language and mythology, 
while dispelling many illusions and furnishing a key to many riddles, 
has opened a field in which the imagination, equipped with a quasi- 
scientific apparatus, finds a wider range than ever before. The dis- 
coveries of the Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg in regard to the origin of 
the Mexican civilization have been matched by those of a Peruvian 
scholar. Dr. Vincente Fidel Lopez, who, in a work entitled Les Races 
aryennes du Perou (Paris, 1871), has brought forward a vast array of 
argument to prove that the dominant race in Peru was an offshoot of the 
great Indo-European family, transplanted at some remote period to the 
American soil, and not connected by blood with any of its other occu- 
pants. This theory is based on a comparison of languages, of archi- 
tectural and other remains, and of institutions and ideas. The Qui- 
chua language, it is admitted, differs in form from all the recognized 
Aryan tongues. Like the other American languages, it \% polysynthetic, 
though Dr. Lopez, who makes no distinction between tlie two terms, 
calls it agglutinative , classing it with the dialects of the Turanian 
Cimily. But many philologists hold that there must have been a period 


in the latter, which was singularly flat and deficient in intellectual 
character. Crania Americana (Philadelphia, 1829).* 

when the oldest Aryan tongues were destitute of inflexions and em- 
ployed the same modes of expression as the Chinese and other mono- 
syllabic languages. There is therefore a "missing link," which is 
supplied by the Quichua, this being agglutinative in form but Aryan 
in substance. The latter point is established by the identity of its 
leading roots with those of the Sanscrit: that is to say, there are kas, 
/as, and vas, with meanings capable of being distorted into some 
similarity, in both. The argument in regard to architecture, pottery, 
etc., is of a more familiar kind, having been long since adduced in 
support of various conjectures. The mythological hypotheses are 
more amusing. Dr. Lopez holds, with M. Brasseur, that all myths 
are identical ; but while the latter insists that their common signifi- 
cance is geological, the former contends that it is astronomical. A 
single example will illustrate the method by which the author estab- 
lishes his points. The most ancient Peruvian deity, as Dr. Lopez 
believes, was AH, the representative of the waning moon, identical 
with the Ate of the Homeric mythology. Another step brings us 
to Hecate, — properly ''E^-ury, of or by Ate, — and a third to Athene 
— Ati-inna — and Minerva, both names signifying the same thing, viz., 
force de la lune. Lest it should be supposed that such conjectures 
have sprung from the remoteness and isolation in which, as Dr. 
Lopez complains, the Peruvian scholar is placed, it may be proper 
to mention that he has been anticipated and even outstripped in his 
leading ideas by some German savants, who, by a similar etymological 
process, have identified both tlie Peruvians and the Aztecs as Celts, 
"Aber woher kamen diese Kelten?" asks one of these enthusiastic 
explorers. " Denn dass es Kelten gewesen sind, kann nicht mehr 
zweifelhaft sein." And he answers his own inquiry by showing the 
probability that they were Irish, "the last pagan remains of that peo- 
ple," who rescued their old druidical worship from the inroads of 
Christianity, and having carried it across the ocean, — whether stopping 
at Greenland on the way or not he is unable to decide, — planted it on 
the Andes, "that is to say, the beautiful land, from an, pleasant, beau- 
tiful, and des, land." Frenzel, Der Belus oder Sonnendienst auf den 
Anden, oder Kelten in America (Leipzig, 1867). — Ed.] 

* [It seems extremely improbable that Dr, Morton should have 
been able to obtain any well-authenticated crania of the Incas. 



"With the exception," says Rivero, "of the mummies of the four [?] 
emperors which were carried to Lima, . . . and the remains of which 
it has been impossible to discover up to this day, the sepulchres of the 
others are unknown, as well as of the nobility descended from them." 
(Peruvian Antiquities, Eng. trans., p. 40.) The same writer asserts 
that all the Peruvian crania figured in the work of Dr. Morton belong 
to those of the three races which, according to him, constituted the 
general mass of the population, the Chinchas, the Aymaraes, and the 
Huancas. The crania of all these races are, he further states, distin- 
guished by an osteologic anomaly : the presence, namely, of an inter- 
parietal bone, of a more or less triangular form, perfectly distinct in 
the first month after birth, and subsequently united to the occipital, 
the suture being marked by a furrow which is never obliterated and 
which is easily recognized in all the crania. — Ed.] 






If we are surprised at the peculiar and original fea- 
tures of what may be called the Peruvian aristocracy, 
we shall be still more so as we descend to the lower 
orders of the community and see the very artificial 
character of their institutions, — as artificial as those of 
ancient Sparta, and, though in a different way, quite 
as repugnant to the essential principles of our nature. 
The institutions of Lycurgus, however, were designed 
for a petty state, while those of Peru, although origi- 
nally intended for such, seemed, like the magic tent in 
the Arabian tale, to have an indefinite power of expan- 
sion, and were as well suited to the most flourishing 
condition of the empire as to its infant fortunes. In 
this remarkable accommodation to change of circum- 
stances we see the proofs of a contrivance that argues 
no slight advance in civilization. 

The name of Peru was not known to the natives. It 
was given by the Spaniards, and originated, it is said, 
in a misapprehension of the Indian name of "river."' 

« Pelu, according to Garcilasso, w;is the Indian name for "river," 
and was given by one of the natives in answer to a question put to him 
Dy the Spaniards, who conceived it to be the name of the country. 
(Com. Real., Parte i, lib. i, cap. 6.) Such blunders have led to the 



However this may be, it is certain that the natives had 
no other epithet by which to designate the large col- 
lection of tribes and nations who were assembled under 
the sceptre of the Incas, than that of Tava?itiiisuyu, or 
"four quarters of the world."* This will not surprise 
a citizen of the United States, who has no other name 
by which to class himself among nations than what is 
borrowed from a quarter of the globe. ^ The kingdom, 

names of many places both in North and South America. Montesi- 
nos, however, denies that there is such an Indian term for "river."'* 
(Mem. antiguas, MS., hb. i, cap. 2.) According to this writer, Peru 
was the ancient Ophir, whence Solomon drew such stores of wealth, 
and which, by a very natural transition, has in time been corrupted 
into Phiru, Piru, Peru ! The first book of the Memorias, consisting 
of thirty-two chapters, is devoted to this precious discovery .f 

2 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 2, cap. II. 

3 Yet an American may find food for his vanity in the reflection that 
the name of a quarter of the globe, inhabited by so many civilized 
nations, has been e.xclusively conceded to him. — Was it conceded or 
assumed ?J 

* [This statement would appear to be correct, and Garcilasso's 
etymology must be rejected on that, if on no other ground. More 
probable derivations are those given by Pascual de Andagoya, — from 
Biru, the name of a province first visited by Caspar de Morales and 
Francisco Pizarro, — and by Father Bias Valera — fi-om the Quichua 
word Pirua, a granary. Carcilasso's objection, that the spelling Piru 
was a later and corrupt form, would, even if well founded, be of little 
moment. — Ed.] 

f [A recent writer, forgetting, as Montesinos seems also to have 
done, that Peru was not the native name for the country, suggests its 
connection with Persia — itself a mere corruption — as an argument in 
support of the Aryan origin of the Quichuans! — Ed.] 

X [This comparison, which seems quite out of place, might be sup- 
posed to imply that the Peruvian word translated "four quarters of 
the world" bore a similar meaning to that conveyed by the English 
phrase. But Carcilasso himself explains it as indicating merely the 


conformably to its name, was divided into four parts, 
distinguished each by a separate title, and to each of 
which ran one of the four great roads that diverged 
from Cuzco, the capital or navel of the Peruvian mon- 
archy. The city was in like manner divided into four 
quarters; and the various races which gathered there 
from the distant parts of the empire lived each in the 
quarter nearest to its respective province. They all 
continued to wear their peculiar national costume, so 
that it was easy to determine their origin; and the 
same order and system of arrangement prevailed in the 
motley population of the capital as in the great prov- 
inces of the empire. The capital, in fact, was a minia- 
ture image of the empire.* 

The four great provinces were each placed under a 
viceroy or governor, who ruled over them with the 
assistance of one or more councils for the different 
departments. These viceroys resided, some portion 
of their time, at least, in the capital, where they con- 
stituted a sort of council of state to the Inca.s The 

4 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i.lib. 2, cap. 9, 10. — Cieza de Leon, 
Cronica, cap. 93. — The capital was further divided into two parts, the 
Upper and Lower town, founded, as pretended, on the different origin 
of the population ; a division recognized also in the inferior cities. 
Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. 

s Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 

lonr cardinal points, by which divisions of territory, as well as archi- 
tectural arrangements and even social organizations, were so com- 
iDonly regulated among primitive nations. The extent to which this 
was carried in America, and the consequent importance and sacred- 
ness attached to the number four, as exemplified in many myths and 
traditions, have been pointed out with great fulness of research and 
illustration by Dr. Brinton, in his Myths of the New World. — Ed.] 


nation at large was distributed into decades, or small 
bodies of ten ; and every tenth man, or head of a 
decade, had supervision of the rest, — being required to 
see that they enjoyed the rights and immunities to 
which they were entitled, to solicit aid in their be- 
half from government, when necessary, and to bring 
offenders to justice. To this last they were stimulated 
by a law that imposed on them, in case of neglect, the 
same penalty that would have been incurred by the 
guilty party. With this law hanging over his head, 
the magistrate of Peru, we may well believe, did not 
often go to sleep on his post.^ 

The people were still further divided into bodies of 
fifty, one hundred, five hundred, and a thousand, each 
with an officer having general supervision over those 
beneath, and the higher ones possessing, to a certain 
extent, authority in matters of police. Lastly, the 
whole empire was distributed into sections or depart- 
ments of ten thousand inhabitants, with a governor 
over each, from the Inca nobility, who had control 
over the airacas and other territorial officers in the 
district. There were, also, regular tribunals of justice, 
consisting of magistrates in each of the towns or small 
communities, with jurisdiction over petty offences, 

2, cap. 15. — For this account of the councils I am indebted to Garci- 
lasso, who frequently fills up gaps that have been left by his fellow 
laborers. 'Whether the filling up will, in all cases, bear the touch of 
time as well as the rest of his work, one may doubt. 

' Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Montesinos, Mem. antiguas, MS., 
lib. 2, cap. 6. — Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — How analogous is the 
Peruvian to the Anglo-Saxon division into hundreds and tithings! But 
the Sa.xon law which imposed only a fine on the district in case of a 
criminal's escape was more humane. 


while those of a graver character were carried before 
superior judges, usually the governors or rulers of the 
districts. These judges all held their authority and 
received their support from the crown, by which they 
were appointed and removed at pleasure. They were 
obliged to determine every suit in five days from the 
time it was brought before them ; and there was no 
appeal from one tribunal to another. Yet there were 
important provisions for the security of justice, A 
committee of visitors patrolled the kingdom at certain 
times to investigate the character and conduct of the 
magistrates ; and any neglect or violation of duty was 
punished in the most exemplary manner. The inferior 
courts were also required to make monthly returns of 
their proceedings to the higher ones, and these made 
reports in like manner to the viceroys : so that the 
monarch, seated in the centre of his dominions, could 
look abroad, as it were, to their most distant extremities, 
and review and rectify any abuses in the administration 
of the law. 7 

The laws were few and exceedingly severe. They 
related almost wholly to criminal matters. Few other 
laws were needed by a people who had no money, little 
trade, and hardly anything that could be called fixed 
property. The crimes of theft, adultery, and murder 
were all capital ; though it was wisely provided that 
some extenuating circumstances might be allowed to 

7 Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Ondegardo, Rel. Prim, et Seg., 
MSS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 11-14. — Monte- 
sinos, Mem. antiguas, MS., lib. 2, cap. 6. — The accounts of the Peru- 
vian tribunals by the early authorities are very meagre and unsatisfac- 
tory. Even the lively imagination of Garcilasso has failed to supply 
the blank. 


mitigate the punishment.' Blasphemy against the Sun, 
and malediction of the Inca, — offences, indeed, of the 
same complexion, — were also punished with death. 
Removing landmarks, turning the water away from a 
neighbor's land into one's own, burning a house, were 
all severely punished. To burn a bridge was death. 
The Inca allowed no obstacle to those facilities of com- 
munication so essential to the maintenance of public 
order. A rebellious city or province was laid waste, 
and its inhabitants exterminated. Rebellion against 
the "Child of the Sun" was the greatest of all 

The simplicity and severity of the Peruvian code 
may be thought to infer a state of society but little ad- 
vanced, which had few of those complex interests and 
relations that grow up in a civilized community, and 
which had not proceeded far enough in the science of 
legislation to economize human suffering by propor- 
tioning penalties to crimes. But the Peruvian institu- 
tions must be regarded from a different point of view 

8 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 
4, cap. 3. — Theft was punished less severely if the offender had been 
really guilty of it to supply the necessities of life. It is a singular 
circumstance that the Peruvian law made no distinction between forni- 
cation and adultery, both being equally punished with death. Yet 
the law could hardly have been enforced, since prostitutes were assigned, 
or at least allowed, a residence in the suburbs of the cities. See Gar- 
cilasso. Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 34. 

9 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 23. — " I los traidores entre ellos 
ilamava aucaes, i esta palabra es la mas abiltada de todas quantas pue- 
den decir aun Indio del Pirii, que quiere decir traidor i. su Senor." 
(Conq. i Pob. del Pini, MS.) " En las rebeliones y alzamientos se 
hicieron los castigos tan asperos, que algunas veces asolaron las pro- 
vincias de todos los varonee de edad sin quedar ninguno." Onde- 
gardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 


from that in which we study those of other nations. 
The laws emanated from the sovereign, and that sov- 
ereign held a divine commission and was possessed of 
a divine nature. To violate the law was not only to 
insult the majesty of the throne, but it was sacrilege. 
The slightest offence, viewed in this light, merited 
death ; and the gravest could incur no heavier pen- 
alty." Yet in the infliction of their punishments they 
showed no unnecessary cruelty; and the suiferings of 
the victim were not prolonged by the ingenious tor- 
ments so frequent among barbarous nations." 

These legislative provisions may strike us as very 
defective, even as compared with those of the semi- 
civilized races of Anahuac, where a gradation of courts, 
moreover, with the right of appeal, afforded a tolerable 
security for justice. But in a country like Peru, where 
few but criminal causes were known, the right of ap- 
peal was' of less consequence. The law was simple, its 
application easy; and, where the judge was honest, the 
case was as likely to be determined correctly on the 
first hearing as on the second. The inspection of the 
board of visitors, and the monthly returns of the tri- 
bunals, afforded no slight guarantee for their integrit3^ 

'o " El castigo era riguroso, que por la mayor parte era de muerte, 
por liviano que fuese el delito ; porque decian, que no los castigavan 
por el delito que avian hecho, ni por la ofensa agena, sino por aver 
quebrantado el mandamiento, y rompido la palabra del Inca, que lo 
respetavan como d Dios." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, 
cap. 12. 

" One of the punishments most frequent for minor offences was to 
carry a stone on the back. A punishment attended with no suffering 
but what arises from the disgrace attached to it is very justly char- 
acterized by McCulloh as a proof of sensibility and refinement. Re- 
searches, p. 361. 

Peru. — Vol. I, — c 5 



The law which required a decision within five days 
would seem little suited to the complex and embarrass- 
ing litigation of a modern tribunal. But, in the simple 
questions submitted to the Peruvian judge, delay would 
have been useless; and the Spaniards, familiar with 
the evils growing out of long-protracted suits, where 
the successful litigant is too often a ruined man, are 
loud in their encomiums of this swift-handed and eco- 
nomical justice." 

The fiscal regulations of the Incas, and the laws re- 
specting property, are the most remarkable features in 
the Peruvian polity. The whole territory of the empire 
was divided into three parts, one for the Sun, another 
for the Inca, and the last for the people. Which of the 
three was the largest is doubtful. The proportions dif- 
fered materially in different provinces. The distribu 
tion, indeed, was made on the same general principle, 
as each new conquest was added to the monarchy; but 
the proportion varied according to the amount of 
population, and the greater or less amount of land 
consequently required for the support of the inhabit- 
ants. '^ 

»» The Royal Audience of Peru under Philip II. — there cannot be 
a higher authority — bears emphatic testimony to the cheap and effi- 
cient administration of justice under the Incas : " De suerte que los 
vicios eran bien casfigados y la gente estaba bien sujeta y obediente ; 
y aunque en las dichas penas havia esceso, redundaba en buen go- 
vienio y policia suya, y mediante ella eran aumentados. . . . Porque 
los Yndios alababan la govemacion del Ynga, y aun los Espanoles 
que algo alcanzan de ella, es porque todas las cosas susodichas se de- 
terminaban sin hacerles costas." Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. 

»3 Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 15. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, 
cap. I. — "Si estas partes fuesen iguales, o qual fuese mayor, yo lo he 
Vocurado averiguar, y en unas es diferente de otras, y finalm" yo 



The lands assigned to the Sun furnished a revenue 
to support the temples and maintain the costly cere 
monial of the Peruvian worship and the multitudinous 
priesthood. Those reserved for the Inca went to sup- 
port the royal state, as well as the numerous members 
of his household and his kindred, and supplied the 
various exigencies of government. The remainder of 
the lands was divided, per capita, in equal shares 
among the people. It was provided by law, as we 
shall see hereafter, that every Peruvian should marry 
at a certain age. When this event took place, the 
community or district in which he lived furnished him 
with a dwelling, which, as it was constructed of humble 
materials, was done at little cost. A lot of land was 
then assigned to him sufficient for his own mainte- 
nance and that of his wife. An additional portion was 
granted for every child, the amount allowed for a son 
being the double of that for a daughter. The division 
of the soil was renewed every year, and the possessions 
of the tenant were increased or diminished according 
to the numbers in his family.'* The same arrangement 
was observed with reference to the curacas, except only 
that a domain was assigned to them corresponding with 
the superior dignity of their stations. '^ 

tengo entendido que se hacia conforme i. la disposicion de la tierra y 
d la calidad de los Indies." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 

'4 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 5, cap. 2. — The portion granted to each new-married couple, ac- 
cording to Garcilasso, was s. fanega and a half of land. A similai 
quantity was added for each male child that was bom, and half of the 
quantity for each female. The fanega was as much land as could be 
planted with a hundred-weight of Indian corn. In the fruitful soil of 
Peru, this was a liberal allowance for a family. 

*S Ibid., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 3. — It is singular that, while so much 



A more thorough and effectual agrarian law than this 
cannot be imagined. In other countries where such a 
law has been introduced, its operation, after a time, 
has given way to the natural order of events, and, 
under the superior intelligence and thrift of some and 
the prodigality of others, the usual vicissitudes of for- 
tune have been allowed to take their course and restore 
things to their natural inequality. Even the iron law 
of Lycurgus ceased to operate after a time, and melted 
away before the spirit of luxury and avarice. The 
nearest approach to the Peruvian constitution was 
probably in Judea, where, on the recurrence of the 
great national jubilee, at the close of every half-cen- 
tury, estates reverted to their original proprietors. 
There was this important difference in Peru ; that not 
only did the lease, if we may so call it, terminate with 
the year, but during that period the tenant had no 
power to alienate or to add to his possessions. The 
end of the brief term found him in precisely the same 
condition that he was in at the beginning. Such a 
state of things might be supposed to be fatal to any 
thing like attachment to the soil, or to that desire of 
improving it which is natural to the permanent proprie- 

is said of the Inca sovereign, so little should be said of the Inca 
nobility, of their estates, or the tenure by which they held them. 
Their historian tells us that they had the best of the lands, wherever 
they resided, besides the interest which they had in those of tlie Sin 
and the Inca, as children of the one and kinsmen of the other. He 
informs us, also, that they were supplied from the royal table when 
living at court. (lib. 6, cap. 3.) But this is very loose language. Tlie 
student of history will learn, on the direshold, that he is not to expect 
precise, or even very consistent, accounts of the institutions of a bar- 
barous age and people from contemporary annalists. 


tor, and hardly less so to the holder of a long lease. 
But the practical operation of the law seems to have 
been otherwise ; and it is probable that, under the in- 
fluence of that love of order and aversion to change 
which marked the Peruvian institutions, each new par- 
tition of the soil usually confirmed the occupant in his 
possession, and the tenant for a year was converted into 
a proprietor for life. 

The territory was cultivated wholly by the people. 
The lands belonging to the Sun were first attended to. 
They next tilled the lands of the old, of the sick, of 
the widow and the orphan, and of soldiers engaged in 
actual service ; in short, of all that part of the com- 
munity who, from bodily infirmity or any other cause, 
were unable to attend to their own concerns. The 
people were then allowed to work on their own ground, 
each man for himself, but with the general obligation 
to assist his neighbor when any circumstance — the bur- 
den of a young and numerous family, for example — 
might demand it.'* Lastly, they cultivated the lands 
of the Inca. This was done, with great ceremony, by 
the whole population in a body. At break of day they 
were summoned together by proclamation from some 
neighboring tower or eminence, and all the inhabitants 
of the district, men, women, and children, appeared 
dressed in their gayest apparel, bedecked with their 
little store of finery and ornaments, as if for some 
great jubilee. They went through the labors of the 

'* Garcilasso relates that an Indian was hanged by Huayna Capac 
for tilling the ground of a curaca, his near relation, before that of the 
poor. The gallows was erected on the curaca's own land. Corn. 
Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 2. 




day with the same joyous spirit, chanting their populai 
ballads which commemorated the heroic deeds of the 
Incas, regulating their movements by the measure of 
the chant, and all mingling in the chorus, of which the 
word haiUi, or "triumph," was usually the burden. 
These national airs had something soft and pleasing in 
their character, that recommended them to the Span- 
iards ; and many a Peruvian song was set to music by 
them after the Conquest, and was listened to by the 
unfortunate natives with melancholy satisfaction, as it 
called up recollections of the past, when their days 
glided peacefully away under the sceptre of the Incas.'' 
A similar arrangement prevailed with respect to the 
different manufactures as to the agricultural products 
of the country. The flocks of llamas, or Peruvian 
sheep, were appropriated exclusively to the Sun and to 
the Inca.'^ Their number was immense. They were 
scattered over the different provinces, chiefly in the 
colder regions of the country, where they were in- 
trusted to the care of experienced shepherds, who 
conducted them to different pastures according to the 
change of season. A large number was every year 
sent to the capital for the consumption of the court, 
and for the religious festivals and sacrifices. But these 
were only the males, as no female was allowed to be 

»7 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 1-3. — Ondegardo, Rel. 
Seg., MS. 

'8 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Yet sometimes the sovereign would 
recompense some great chief, or even some one among the people, 
who had rendered him a service, by the grant of a small number of 
llamas, — never many. These were not to be disposed of or killed bj 
their owners, but descended as common property to their heirs. This 
strange arrangement proved a fruitful source of litigation after the 
Conquest. Ibid., ubi supra. 


killed. The regulations for the care and breeding of 
these flocks were prescribed with the greatest minute- 
ness, and with a sagacity which excited the admiration 
of the Spaniards, who were familiar with the manage- 
ment of the great migratory flocks of merinos in their 
own country.'' 

At the appointed season they were all sheared, and 
the wool was deposited in the public magazines. It 
was then dealt out to each family in such quantities as 
sufficed for its wants, and was consigned to the female 
part of the household, who were well instructed in the 
business of spinning and weaving. When this labor 
was accomplished, and the family was provided with a 
coarse but warm covering, suited to the cold climate 
of the mountains, — for in the lower country cotton, 
furnished in like manner by the crown, took the place, 
to a certain extent, of wool, — the people were required 
to labor for the Inca. The quantity of the cloth 
needed, as well as the peculiar kind and quality of the 
fabric, was first determined at Cuzco. The work was 
then apportioned among the different provinces. Offi- 
cers appointed for the purpose superintended the dis- 
tribution of the wool, so that the manufacture of the 
different articles should be intrusted to the most com- 
petent hands. ^ They did not leave the matter here, 
but entered the dwellings, from time to time, and saw 

'9 See especially the account of the Licentiate Ondegardo, who goes 
into more detail than any contemporary writer concerning the man- 
agement of the Peruvian flocks. Rel. Seg., MS. 

=» Ondegardo, Rel. Prim, et Seg., MSS. — The manufacture of cloths 
f-JT he Inca included those for the numerous persons of the blood 
royal, who wore garments of a finer texture than was permitted to any 
other Peruvian. Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte I, lib. 5, cap. 6 


that the work was faithfully executed. This domestic 
inquisition was not confined to the labors for the Inca. 
It included, also, those for the several families; and 
care was taken that each household should employ the 
materials furnished for its own use in the manner that 
was intended, so that no one should be unprovided 
with necessary apparel." In this domestic labor all 
the female part of the establishment was expected to 
join. Occupation was found for all, from the child 
five years old to the aged matron not too infirm to hold 
a distaff. No one, at least none but the decrepit and 
the sick, was allowed to eat the bread of idleness in 
Peru. Idleness was a crime in the eye of the law, and, 
as such, severely punished ; while industry was publicly 
commended and stimulated by rewards.'" 

The like course was pursued with reference to the 
other requisitions of the government. All the mines in 
the kingdom belonged to the Inca. They were wrought 
exclusively for his benefit, by persons familiar with this 
service and selected from the districts where the mines 
were situated. ^^ Every Peruvian of the lower class was 

« Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 15. 

« Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib, 
5, cap. II. 

=3 Garcilasso would have us believe that the Inca was indebted to 
the curacas for his gold and silver, which were furnished by the great 
vassals as presents. (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 7.) This im- 
probable statement is contradicted by the Report of the Royal Audi- 
ence, MS., by Sarmiento (Relacion, MS., cap. 15), and by Ondegardo 
(Rel. Prim., MS.), who all speak of the mines as the property of the 
government and wrought exclusively for its benefit. From this reser- 
voir the proceeds were liberally dispensed in the form of presents 
among the great lords, and still more for the embellishment of the 



a husbandman, and, with the exception of those al- 
ready specified, was expected to provide for his own 
support by the cultivation of his land. A small por- 
tion of the community, however, was instructed in 
mechanical arts, — some of them of the more elegant 
kind, subservient to the purposes of luxury and orna- 
ment. The demand for these was chiefly limited to 
the sovereign and his court ; but the labor of a larger 
number of hands was exacted for the execution of the 
great public works which covered the land. The na- 
ture and amount of the services required were all de- 
termined at Cuzco by commissioners well instructed in 
the resources of the country and in the character of 
the inhabitants of different provinces.'* 

This information was obtained by an admirable regu- 
lation, which has scarcely a counterpart in the annals 
of a semi-civilized people. A register was kept of all 
the births and deaths throughout the country, and 
exact returns of the actual population were made to 
the governrnent every year, by means of the quipus, a 
curious invention, which will be explained hereafter. ''s 
At certain intervals, also, a general survey of the coun- 
try was made, exhibiting a complete view of the char- 
acter of the soil, its fertility, the nature of its products, 

=4 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 13-16. — Ondegardo, 
Rel. Prim, et Sag., MSS. 

25 Montesinos, Mem. antiguas, MS., lib. 2, cap. 6. — Pedro Pizarro, 
Relacion del Descubrimiento y Conquista de los Reynos del Peru, 
MS. — " Cada provincia, en fin del ano, mandava aseniar en los quipos, 
por la cucnta de sus nudos, todos los hombres que habian muerto en 
ella en aquel ano, y por el consiguiente los que habian nacido, y por 
principio del ano que entraba, venian con los quipos al Cuzco." Sar- 
miento, Relacion, MS., cap. 16. 


both agricultural and mineral, — in short, of all that 
constituted the physical resources of the empire."* 
Furnished with these statistical details, it was easy for 
the government, after determining the amount of re- 
quisitions, to distribute the work among the respective 
provinces best qualified to execute it. The task of 
apportioning the labor was assigned to the local au- 
thorities, and great care was taken that it should be 
done in such a manner that, while the most competent 
hands were selected, the weight should not fall dis- 
proportionately on any.*' 

The different provinces of the country furnished 
persons peculiarly suited to different employments, 
which, as we shall see hereafter, usually descended 
from father to son. Thus, one district supplied those 
most skilled in working the mines, another the most 
curious workers in metals or in wood, and so on.''' 
The artisan was provided by government with the ma- 
terials ; and no one was required to give more than a 
stipulated portion of his time to the public service. 
He was then succeeded by another for the like term; 
and it should be observed that all who were engaged 
in the employment of the government — and the remark 
applies equally to agricultural labor — were maintained, 

^ Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 14. 

27 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Sarmiento, Rel., MS., cap. 15. — 
" Presupuesta y entendida la dicha division que el Inga tenia hecha 
de su gente, y orden que tenia puesta en el govierno de ella, era muy 
facil haverla en la division y cobranza de los dichos tributes ; porque 
era claro y cierto lo que d cada uno cabia sin que hubiese desigualdad 
ni engano." Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. 

i* Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 15, — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., 


for the time, at the public expense.'' By this constant 
rotation of labor it was intended that no one should 
be overburdened, and that each man should have time 
to provide for the demands of his own household. It 
was impossible — in the judgment of a high Spanish 
authority — to improve on the system of distribution, 
so carefully was it accommodated to the condition and 
comfort of the artisan. 3° The security of the working- 
classes seems to have been ever kept in view in the regu- 
lations of the government; and these were so discreetly 
arranged that the most wearing and unwholesome la- 
bors, as those of the mines, occasioned no detriment 
to the health of the laborer ; a striking contrast to his 
subsequent condition under the Spanish rule. 3' 

A part of the agricultural produce and manufactures 
was transported to Cuzco, to minister to the immediate 
demands of the Inca and his court. But far the greater 
part was stored in magazines scattered over the different 
provinces. These spacious buildings, constructed of 
stone, were divided between the Sun and the Inca, 
though the greater share seems to have been appro- 
priated by the monarch. By a wise regulation, any 
deficiency in the contributions of the Inca might be 

*9 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 5, cap. 5. 

30 "Y tambien se tenia cuenta que el trabajo que pasavan fuese 
moderado, y con el menos riesgo que fuese posible. . . . Era tanta la 
orden que tuvieron estos Indios, que a mi parecer aunque mucho se 
piense en ello seria dificultoso mejorarla conocida su condicion y cos- 
tumbres." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 

3" "The working of the mines," says the President of the Council 
of the Indies, " was so regulated that no one felt it a hardship, much 
less was his life shortened by it." 'Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 
15 ) It is a frank admission for a Spaniard. 


supplied from the granaries of the Sun.^* But such a 
necessity could rarely have happened ; and the provi- 
dence of the government usually left a large surplus in 
the royal depositories, which was removed to a third 
class of magazines, whose design was to supply the 
people in seasons of scarcity, and, occasionally, to 
furnish relief to individuals whom sickness or misfor- 
tune had reduced to poverty ; thus in a manner justify- 
ing the assertion of a Castilian document, that a large 
portion of the revenues of the Inca found its way back 
again, through one channel or another, into the hands 
of the people. 33 These magazines were found by the 
Spaniards, on their arrival, stored with all the various 
products and manufactures of the country, — with maize, 
coca, quinua, woollen and cotton stuffs of the finest 
quality, with vases and utensils of gold, silver, and 
copper, in short, with every article of luxury or use 
within the compass of Peruvian skill. ^^ The magazines 

32 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 34. — Ondegardo, Rel, 
Prim., MS. — " E asi esta parte del Inga no hay duda sino que de todas 
tres era la mayor, y en los depositos se parece bien que yo visite 
muchos en diferentes partes, e son mayores e mas largos que no los 
de su religion sin comparasion." Idem, Rel. Seg., MS. 

33 "Todos los dichos tributos y servicios que el Inga imponia y 
Uevaba como dicho es eran con color y para efecto del govierno y 
pro comun de todos, asi como lo que se ponia en depositos todo se 
combertia y distribuia entre los mismos naturales." Dec. de la Aud. 
Real., MS. 

34 Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 15. — " No podre decir," says one of the Con- 
querors, " los depositos. Vide de rropas y de todos generos de rropas 
y vestidos que en este reino se hacian y vsavan que faltava tiempo 
para vello y entendimiento para comprender tanta cosa, muchos de- 
positos de barretas de cobre para las minas y de costales y sogas de 
vases de palo y platos del ore y plata que aqui se hallo hera cosa 
despanto." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 


of grain, in particular, would frequently have sufficed 
for the consumption of the adjoining district for several 
years. 35 An inventory of the various products of the 
country, and the quarters whence they were obtained, 
was every year taken by the royal officers, and recorded 
Dy the quipucainayus on their registers, with surprising 
regularity and precision. These registers were trans- 
mitted to the capital and submitted to the Inca, who 
could thus at a glance, as it were, embrace the whole 
results of the national industry and see how far they 
corresponded with the requisitions of the government. 3* 
Such are some of the most remarkable features of the 
Peruvian institutions relating to property, as delineated 
by writers who, however contradictory in the details, 
have a general conformity of outline. These institu- 
tions are certainly so remarkable that it is hardly 
credible they should ever have been enforced through- 
out a great empire and for a long period of years. Yet 
we have the most unequivocal testimony to the fact 
from the Spaniards, who landed in Peru in time to 
witness their operation ; some of whom, men of high 
judicial station and character, were commissioned by 
the government to make investigations into the state 
of the country under its ancient rulers. 

35 For ten years, sometimes, if we may credit Ondegardo, who had 
every means of knowing : " 6 ansi cuando no era menester se estaba 
en los depositos e habia algunas vezes comida de diez anos. . . . Los 
cuales todos se hallaron llenos cuando llegaron los Espanoles desto y 
de todas las cosas necesarias para la vida humana.' Rel. Seg., MS. 

36 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — "For tanta orden e cuenta que 
seria dificultoso creerlo ni darlo d entender como ellos lo tienen en su 
cuenta k. por registros e por menudo lo manifestaron que se pudiera 
por estenso." Idem, Rel. Seg., MS. 

Peru. — Vol. I. 6 


The impositions on the Peruvian people seem to have 
been sufficiently heavy. On them rested the whole 
burden of maintaining not only their own order, but 
every other order in the state. The members of the 
royal house, the great nobles, even the public function- 
aries, and the numerous body of the priesthood, were 
all exempt from taxation.^ The whole duty of defray- 
ing the expenses of the government belonged to the 
people. Yet this was not materially different from the 
condition of things formerly existing in most parts of 
Europe, where the various privileged classes claimed 
exemption — not always with success, indeed — from 
bearing part of the public burdens. The great hard- 
ship in the case of the Peruvian was that he could not 
better his condition. His labors were for others, rather 
than for himself. However industrious, he could not 
add a rood to his own possessions, nor advance himself 
one hair's breadth in the social scale. The great and 
universal motive to honest industry, that of bettering 
one's lot, was lost upon him. The great law of human 
progress was not for him. As he was born, so he was 
to die. Even his time he could not properly call his 
own. Without money, with little property of any 
kind, he paid his taxes in labor. ^^ No wonder that the 
government should have dealt with sloth as a crime. 
It was a crime against the state, and to be wasteful of 
time was, in a manner, to rob the exchequer. The 
Peruvian, laboring all his life for others, might be com- 
pared to the convict in a treadmill, going the same dull 

37 Garcilasso. Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 15. 

38 " Solo el trabajo de las personas era el tribute que se dava, porquo 
ellos no poseian otra cosa." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 


round of incessant toil, with the consciousness that, 
however profitable the results to the state, they were 
nothing to him. 

But this is the dark side of the picture. If no man 
could become rich in Peru, no man could become poor. 
No spendthrift could waste his substance in riotous 
luxury. No adventurous schemer could impoverish his 
family by the spirit of speculation. The law was con- 
stantly directed to enforce a steady industry and a sober 
management of his affairs. No mendicant was tolerated 
in Peru. When a man was reduced by poverty or mis- 
fortune (it could hardly be by fault), the arm of the 
law was stretched out to minister relief; not the stinted 
relief of private charity, nor that which is doled out, 
drop by drop, as it were, from the frozen reservoirs of 
"the parish," but in generous measure, bringing no 
humiliation to the object of it, and placing him on a 
level with the rest of his countrymen. 3' 

No man could be rich, no man could be poor, in 

39 " Era tanta la orden que tenia en todos sus Reinos y provincias, 
que no consentia haver ningun Indio pobre ni menesteroso, porque 
havia orden i formas para ello sin que los pueblos reciviesen vexacion 
ni molestia, porque el Inga lo suplia de sus tributes." (Conq. i Pob. 
del Piru, MS.) The Licentiate Ondegardo sees only a device of Satan 
in these provisions of the Peruvian law, by which the old, the infirm, 
and the poor were rendered, in a manner, independent of their chil- 
dren and those nearest of kin, on whom they would naturally have 
leaned for support; no surer way to harden the heart, he considers, 
than by thus disengaging it from the sympathies of humanity ; and no 
circumstance has done more, he concludes, to counteract the influence 
and spread of Christianity among the natives. (Rel. Seg., MS.) The 
views are ingenious ; but in a country where the people had no prop- 
erty, as in Peru, there would seem to be no alternative for the super- 
numeraries but to receive support from government or to starve. 


Peru ; but all might enjoy, and did enjoy, a compe- 
tence. Ambition, avarice, the love of change, the 
morbid spirit of discontent, those passions which most 
agitate the minds of men, found no place in the bosom 
of the Peruvian. The very condition of his being 
seemed to be at war with change. He moved on in 
the same unbroken circle in wliich his fathers had 
moved before him, and in which his children were to 
follow. It was the object of the Incas to infuse into 
their subjects a spirit of passive obedience and tran- 
quillity, — a perfect acquiescence in the established 
order of things. In this they fully succeeded. The 
Spaniards who first visited the country are emphatic in 
their testimony that no government could have been 
better suited to the genius of the people, and no people 
could have appeared more contented with their lot or 
more devoted to their government. ■»" 

Those who may distrust the accounts of Peruvian in- 
dustry will find their doubts removed on a visit to the 
country. The traveller still meets, especially in the 
central regions of the table-land, with memorials of the 
past, remains of temples, palaces, fortresses, terraced 
mountains, great military roads, aqueducts, and other 
public works, which, whatever degree of science they 
may display in their execution, astonish him by their 
number, the massive character of the materials, and 
the grandeur of the design. Among them, perhaps 
the most remarkable are the great roads, the broken 
remains of which are still in sufficient preservation to 
attest their former magnificence. There were many 
of these roads, traversing different parts of the king- 

f> Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 12, 15. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 10. 



dom ; but the most considerable were the two which 
extended from Quito to Cuzco, and, again diverging 
from the capital, continued in a southerly direction 
towards Chili. 

One of these roads passed over the grand plateau, 
and the other along the lowlands on the borders of 
the ocean. The former was much the more difficult 
achievement, from the character of the country. It 
was conducted over pathless sierras buried in snow; 
galleries were cut for leagues through the living rock; 
rivers were crossed by means of bridges that swung 
suspended in the air; precipices were scaled by stair- 
ways hewn out of the native bed ; ravines of hideous 
depth were filled up with solid masonry: in short, all 
the difficulties that beset a wild and mountainous 
region, and which might appall the most courageous 
engineer of modern times, were encountered and suc- 
cessfully overcome. The length of the road, of which 
scattered fragments only remain, is variously estimated 
at from fifteen hundred to two thousand miles; and 
stone pillars, in the manner of European mile-stones, 
were erected at stated intervals of somewhat more than 
a league, all along the route. Its breadth scarcely ex- 
ceeded twenty feet.*' It was built of heavy flags of 

4» Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — " Este camino hecho por valles on- 
dos y por sierras altas, por montes de nieve, por tremedales de agna 
y por pefia viva y junto d rios furiosos por estas partes y ballano y 
empedrado por las laderas, bien sacado por las sierras, deshechado, 
por las peiias socavado, por junto d los Rios sus paredes, entre nieves 
con escalones y descanso, por todas partes limpio barrido descom- 
brado, lleno de aposentos, de depositos de tesoros, de Templos del 
Sol, de Postas que havia en este camino." Sarmiento, Relacion, 
MS., cap. 60. 



freestone, and, in some parts at least, covered with a 
bituminous cement, which time has made harder than 
the stone itself. In some places, where the ravines 
had been filled up with masonry, the mountain-tor- 
rents, wearing on it for ages, have gradually eaten a 
way through the base, and left the superincumbent 
mass — such is the cohesion of the materials — still span- 
ning the valley like an arch ! ♦^ 

Over some of the boldest streams it was necessary to 
construct suspension-bridges, as they are termed, made 
of the tough fibres of the maguey, or of the osier of 
the country, which has an extraordinary degree of 
tenacity and strength. These osiers were woven into 
cables of the thickness of a man's body. The huge 
ropes, then stretched across the water, were conducted 
through rings or holes cut in immense buttresses of 
stone raised on the opposite banks of the river and 
there secured to heavy pieces of timber. Several of 
these enormous cables, bound together, formed a 
bridge, which, covered. with planks, well secured and 
defended by a railing of the same osier materials on 
the sides, afforded a safe passage for the traveller. The 
length of this aerial bridge, sometimes exceeding two 

^ " On avail comble les vides et les ravins par de grandes masses 
de ma9onnerie. Les torrents qui descendent des hauteurs apres des 
pluies abondantes avaient creuse les endroits les moins solides, et 
s'etaient fraye une voie sous le chemin, le laissant ainsi suspendu en 
I'air comme un pont fait d'une seule pi^ce." (Velasco, Hist, de Quito, 
torn. i. p. 206.) This writer speaks from personal observation, having 
examined and measured different parts of the road, in the latter yart 
of the last century. The Spanish scholar will find in Appendix No. 
2 an animated description of this magnificent work and of the ob- 
stacles encountered in the execution of it, in a passage borrowed from 
Sarmiento, who saw it in the days of the Incas. 


hundred feet, caused it, confined as it was only at the 
extremities, to dip with an alarming inclination to- 
wards the centre, while the motion given to it by the 
passenger occasioned an oscillation still more frightful, 
as his eye wandered over the dark abyss of waters that 
foamed and tumbled many a fathom beneath. Yet 
these light and fragile fabrics were crossed without 
fear by the Peruvians, and are still retained by the 
Spaniards over those streams which, from the depth or 
impetuosity of the current, would seem impracticable 
for the usual modes of conveyance. The wider and 
more tranquil waters were crossed on balsas — a kind 
of raft still much used by the natives — to which sails 
were attached, furnishing the only instance of this 
higher kind of navigation among the American In- 

The other great road of the Incas lay through the 
level country between the Andes and the ocean. It 
was constructed in a different manner, as demanded by 
the nature of the ground, which was for the most part 
low, and much of it sandy. The causeway was raised 
on a high embankment of earth, and defended on 
either side by a parapet or wall of clay; and trees and 
odoriferous shrubs were planted along the margin, re- 
galing the sense of the traveller with their perfumes, 
and refreshing him by their shades, so grateful under 
the burning sky of the tropics. In the strips of sandy 

« Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 3, cap. 7. — A particular 
account of these bridges, as they are still to be seen in different parts 
of Peru, may be found in Humboldt. (Vues des Cordilleres, p. 230, 
et seq.) The balsas are described with equal minuteness by Steven- 
son. Residence in America, vol. ii. p. 222, et seq. 


waste which occasionally intervened, where the light 
and volatile soil was incapable of sustaining a road, huge 
piles, many of them to be seen at this day, were driven 
into the ground to indicate the route to the traveller."' 
All along these highways, caravansaries, or tatnbos, 
as they were called, were erected, at the distance of 
ten or twelve miles from each other, for the accommo- 
dation, more particularly, of the Inca and his suite 
and those who journeyed on the public business. There 
were few other travellers in Peru. Some of these build- 
ings were on an extensive scale, consisting of a fortress, 
barracks, and other military works, surrounded by a 
parapet of stone and covering a large tract of ground. 
These were evidently destined for the accommodation 
of the imperial armies when on their march across the 
country. The care of the great roads was committed 
to the districts through which they passed, and under 
the Incas a large number of hands was constantly em- 
ployed to keep them in repair. This was the more easily 
done in a country where the mode of travelling was 
altogether on foot ; though the roads are said to have 
been so nicely constructed that a carriage might have 
rolled over them as securely as on any of the great 
roads of Europe. ■*s Still, in a region where the ele- 

44 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 60. — Relacion del primer Descu- 
brimiento de la Costa y Mar del Sur, MS. — This anonymous docu- 
ment of one of the early Conquerors contains a minute and probably 
trustworthy account of both the high-roads, which the writer saw in 
their glory, and which he ranks among the greatest wonders of the 

« Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 
37. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 11. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., 
Parte i, lib. 9, cap. 13. 


ments of fire and water are both actively at work in 
the business of destruction, they must, without con- 
stant supervision, have gradually gone to decay. Such 
has been their fate under the Spanish conquerors, who 
took no care to enforce the admirable system for their 
preservation adopted by the Incas. Yet the broken 
portions that still survive here and there, like the 
fragments of the great Roman roads scattered over 
Europe, bear evidence to their primitive grandeur, 
and have drawn forth the eulogium from a discrimi- 
nating traveller, usually not too profuse in his pane- 
gyric, that "the roads of the Incas were among the 
most useful and stupendous works ever executed by 



The system of communication through their domin- 
ions was still further improved by the Peruvian sove- 
reigns by the introduction of posts, in the same manner 
as was done by the Aztecs. The Peruvian posts, how- 
ever, established on all the great routes that conducted 
to the capital, were on a much more extended plan 
than those in Mexico. All along these routes, small 
buildings were erected, at the distance of less than 
five miles asunder/^ in each of which a number of run- 

'f' " Cette chauss^e, bordee de grandes pierres de taille, peut etre 
comparee aux plus belles routes des Remains que j'aie vues en Italic, 
en France et en Espagne. . . . Le grand chemin de I'lnca, un des 
ouvrages les plus utiles et en meme temps des plus gigantesques que 
les hommes aient execute." Humboldt, Vues des Cordill^res, p. 294. 

*7 The distance between the post-houses is variously stated ; most 
writers not estimating it at more than three-fourths of a league. I 
have preferred the authority of Ondegardo, who usually writes with 
more conscientiousness and knowledge of his ground than most of his 



ners, or chasquis, as they were called, were stationed to 
carry forward the despatches of government."* These 
despatches were either verbal, or conveyed by means 
of qiiipus, and sometimes accompanied by a thread of 
the crimson fringe worn round the temples of the Inca, 
which was regarded with the same implicit deference 
as the signet-ring of an Oriental despot.*' 

The chasquis were dressed in a peculiar livery, inti- 
mating their profession. They were all trained to the 
employment, and selected for their speed and fidelity. 
As the distance each courier had to perform was small, 
and as he had ample time to refresh himself at the sta- 
tions, they ran over the ground with great swiftness, 
and messages were carried through the whole extent 
of the long routes, at the rate of a hundred and fifty 
miles a day. The office of the chasquis was not limited 
to carrving despatches. They frequently brought va- 
rious articles for the use of the court ; and in this way 
fish from the distant ocean, fruits, game, and different 
commodities from the hot regions on the coast, were 
taken to the capital in good condition and served 
fresh at the royal table. s" It is remarkable that this 

48 The term chasqui, according to Montesinos, signifies "one that 
receives a thing." (Mem. antiguas, MS., cap. 7.) But Garcilasso, a 
better authority for his own tongue, says it meant " one who makes an 
exchange." Com. Real., Parte i, hb. 6, cap. 8. 

*9 " Con vn hilo de esta Borla, entregado i uno de aquellos Oie- 
jones. govemaban la Tierra, i proveian lo que querian con maior obe- 
diencia, que en ninguna Provincia del Mundo se ha visto tener d las 
Provissiones de su Rei." Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 9. 

so Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 18. — Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. 
— If we may trust Montesinos, the royal table wr.s served with fish, 
taken a hundred leagues from the capital, in twenty-four hours after 


important institution should have been known to both 
the Mexicans and the Peruvians without any corre- 
spondence with one another, and that it should have 
been found among two barbarian nations of the New 
World long before it was introduced among the civil- 
ized nations of Europe. s' 

By these wise contrivances of the Incas, the most 
distant parts of the long-extended empire of Peru were 
brought into intimate relations with each other. And 
while the capitals of Christendom, but a few hundred 
miles apart, remained as far asunder as if seas had 
rolled between them, the great capitals Cuzco and 
Quito were placed by the high-roads of the Incas in 
immediate correspondence. Intelligence from the nu- 
merous provinces was transmitted on the wings of the 
wind to the Peruvian metropolis, the great focus to 
which all the lines of communication converged. Not 
an insurrectionary movement could occur, not an in- 
vasion on the remotest frontier, before the tidings 
were conveyed to the capital and the imperial armies 

it was drawn from the ocean ! (Mem. antiguas, MS., lib. 2, cap. 7.) 
This is rather too expeditious for anything but railways. 

s» The institution of the Peruvian posts seems to have made a great 
Impression on the minds of the Spaniards who first visited the country; 
and ample notices of it may be found in Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., 
cap. 15, — Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS., — Fernandez, Hist, del Peru, 
Parte 2, lib. 3, cap. 5, — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS., et auct. plurimis, 
— The establishment of posts is of old date among the Chinese, and 
probably still older among the Persians. (See Herodotus, Hist., 
Urania, sec. 98.) It is singular that an invention designed for the uses 
of a despotic government should have received its full application only 
under a free one. For in it we have the germ of that beautiful system 
of intercommunication which binds all the nations of Christendom 
together as one vast commonwealth. 



were on their march across the magnificent roads of 
the country to suppress it. So admirable was the ma- 
chinery contrived by the American despots for main- 
taining tranquillity throughout their dominions ! It 
may remind us of the similar institutions of ancient 
Rome, when, under the Caesars, she was mistress of 
half the world. 

A principal design of the great roads was to serve 
the purposes of military communication. It formed 
an important item of their military policy, which is 
quite as well worth studying as their municipal. 

Notwithstanding the pacific professions of the Incas, 
and the pacific tendency, indeed, of their domestic in- 
stitutions, they were constantly at war. It was by war 
that their paltry territory had been gradually enlarged 
to a powerful empire. When this was achieved, the 
capital, safe in its central position, was no longer 
shaken by these military movements, and the country 
enjoyed, in a great degree, the blessings of tranquillity 
and order. But, however tranquil at heart, there is not 
a reign upon record in which the nation was not en- 
gaged in war against the barbarous nations on the fron- 
tier. Religion furnished a plausible pretext for inces- 
sant aggression, and disguised the lust of conquest in 
the Incas, probably, from their own eyes, as well as 
from those of their subjects. Like the followers of 
Mahomet, bearing the sword in one hand and the 
Koran in the other, the Incas of Peru offered no al- 
ternative but the worship of the Sun or war. 

It is true, their fanaticism — or their policy — showed 
itself in a milder form than was found in the descend- 
ants of the Prophet. Like the great luminary which 



they adored, they operated by gentleness, more potent 
than violence. 5=" They sought to soften the hearts of 
the rude tribes around them, and melt them by acts of 
condescension and kindness. Far from provoking hos- 
tilities, they allowed time for the salutary example of 
tlieir own institutions to work its effect, trusting that 
their less civilized neighbors would submit to their 
sceptre, from a conviction of the blessings it would 
secure to them. When this course failed, they em- 
ployed other measures, but still of a pacific character, 
and endeavored by negotiation, by conciliatory treat- 
ment, and by presents to the leading men, to win them 
over to their dominion. In short, they practised all 
the arts familiar to the most subtle politician of a civil- 
ized land to secure the acquisition of empire. When 
all these expedients failed, they prepared for war. 

Their levies were drawn from all the different prov- 
inces ; though from some, where the character of the 
people was particularly hardy, more than from others." 
It seems probable that every Peruvian who had reached 
a certain age might be called to bear arms. But the 
rotation of military service, and the regular drills, 
which took place twice or thrice in a month, of the 
inhabitants of every village, raised the soldiers gener- 
ally above the rank of a raw militia. The Peruvian 
army, at first inconsiderable, came with the increase 
of population, in the latter days of the empire, to be 
very large, so that their monarchs could bring into the 
field, as contemporaries assure us, a force amounting to 

S* " Mas se hicieron Seiiores al principio por mana, que por fuerza." 
Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 
53 Idem, Rel. Prim., MS.— Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — d 7 



two hundred thousand men. They showed the same 
skill and respect for order in their military organiza- 
tion as in other things. The troops were divided into 
bodies corresponding with our battalions and compa- 
nies, led by officers, that rose, in regular gradation, 
from the lowest subaltern to the Inca noble who was 
intrusted with the general command. ^^ 

Their arms consisted of the usual weapons em- 
ployed by nations, whether civilized or uncivilized, 
before the invention of powder, — bows and arrows, 
lances, darts, a short kind of sword, a battle-axe or 
partisan, and slings, with which they were very expert. 
Their spears and arrows were tipped with copper, or, 
more commonly, with bone, and the weapons of the 
Inca lords were frequently mounted with gold or silver. 
Their heads were protected by casques made either of 
wood or of the skins of wild animals, and sometimes 
richly decorated with metal and with precious stones, 
surmounted by the brilliant plumage of the tropical 
birds. These, of course, were the ornaments only of 
the higher orders. The great mass of the soldiery 
were dressed in the peculiar costume of their prov- 
inces, and their heads were wreathed with a sort of 
turban or roll of different-colored cloths, that produced 
a gay and animating effect. Their defensive armor 
consisted of a shield or buckler, and a close tunic of 
quilted cotton, in the same manner as with the Mexi- 
cans. Each company had its particular banner, and 
tie imperial standard, high above all, displayed the 
glittering device of the rainbow, — the armorial ensign 

V> Gomara, Cronica, cap. 195. — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 



of the Incas, intimating their claims as children of the 

skies. 55 

By means of the thorough system of communication 
established in the country, a short time sufficed to draw 
the levies together from the most distant quarters. The 
army was put under the direction of some experienced 
chief, of the blood royal, or, more frequently, headed 
by the Inca in person. The march was rapidly per- 
formed, and with little fatigue to the soldier j for, all 
along the great routes, quarters were provided for him, 
at regular distances, where he could find ample accom- 
modations. The country is still covered with the re- 
mains of military works, constructed of porphyry or 
granite, which tradition assures us were designed to 
lodge the Inca and his army.^* 

At regular intervals, also, magazines were estab- 
lished, filled with grain, weapons, and the different 
munitions of war, with which the army was supplied 
on its march. It was the especial care of the govern- 
ment to see that these magazines, which were furnished 
from the stores of the Incas, were always well filled. 
When the Spaniards invaded the country, they sup- 

55 Gomara, Cronica, ubi supra. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 
20. — Velasco, Hist, de Quito, torn. i. pp. 176-179. — This last writer 
gives a minute catalogue of the ancient Penivian arms, comprehending 
nearly every thing familiar to the European soldier, except fire-arms. 
It was judicious in him to omit these. 

56 Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 11. — Sarmiento, Relacion, 
MS., cap. 60. — Condamine speaks of the great number of these forti- 
fied places, scattered over the country between Quito and Lima, which 
he saw in his visit to South America in 1737 ; some of which he has 
described with great minuteness. Memoire sur quelques anciens 
Monumens du Perou, du Tems des Incas, ap. Histoire de TAcadeinie 
Royale des Sciences et de Belles-Lettres (Berlin, 1748), torn. ii. p. 438, 


ported their own armies for a long time on the pro- 
visions found in them.s? The Peruvian soldier was 
forbidden to commit any trespass on the property of 
the inhabitants whose territory lay in the line of 
march. Any violation of this order was punished 
with death. s* The soldier was clothed and fed by the 
industry of the people, and the Incas rightly resolved 
that he should not repay this by violence. Far from 
being a tax on the labors of the husbandman, or even 
a burden on his hospitality, the imperial armies tra- 
versed the country, from one extremity to the other, 
with as little inconvenience to the inhabitants as would 
be created by a procession of peaceful burghers or a 
muster of holiday soldiers for a review. 

From the moment war was proclaimed, the Peruvian 
monarch used all possible expedition in assembling his 
forces, that he might anticipate the movements of his 
enemijes and prevent a combination with their allies. 
It was, however, from the neglect of such a principle 
of combination that the several nations of the country, 
who might have prevailed by confederated strength," 
fell one after another under the imperial yoke. Yet, 

57 " E ansi cuando," says Ondegardo, speaking from his own personal 
knowledge, " el Senor Presidente Gasca passo con la gente de castigo 
de Gonzalo Pizarro por el valle de Jauja, estuvo alii siete semanas d 
lo que me acuerdo, se hallaron en deposito maiz de cuatro y de tres 
y de dos anos mas de 15 3. hanegas junto al camino, e alii comio la 
gente, y se entendio que si fuera menester muchas mas no faltaran 
en el valle en aquellos depositos, conforme d la orden antigua, porque 
i. mi cargo estubo el repartirlas y hacer la cuenta para pagarlas." 
Rel. Seg.. MS. 

5'* Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, 
cap. 44. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 14. 



once in the field, the Inca did not usually show any 
disposition to push his advantages to the utmost and 
urge his foe to extremity. In every stage of the war, 
he was open to propositions for peace ; and, although 
he sought to reduce his enemies by carrying off their 
harvests and distressing them by famine, he allowed 
his troops to commit no unnecessary outrage on person 
or property. "We must spare our enemies," one of 
the Peruvian princes is quoted as saying, " or it will 
be our loss, since they and all that belongs to them 
must soon be ours."59 jt was a wise maxim, and, like 
most other wise maxims, founded equally on benevo- 
lence and prudence. The Incas adopted the policy 
claimed for the Romans by their countryman, who 
tells us that they gained more by clemency to the van- 
quished than by their victories.*" 

In the same considerate spirit, they were most care- 
ful to provide for the security and comfort of their 
own troops ; and when a war was long protracted, or 
the climate proved unhealthy, they took care to relieve 
their men by frequent reinforcements, allowing the 
earlier recruits to return to their homes.*' But while 
thus economical of life, both in their own followers 
and in the enemy, they did not shrink from sterner 
measures when provoked by the ferocious or obstinate 

S9 " Mandabase que en los mantenimientos y casas de los enemigos 
se hiciese poco dano, diciendoles el Seiior, presto seran estos nuestrds 
como los que ya lo son ; como esto tenian conocido, procuraban que 
la guerra fuese la mas liviana que ser pudiese." Sarmiento, Relaeion, 
MS., cap. 14. 

'o " Plus pene parcendo victis, quJlm vincendo imperium auxisse." 
Livy, lib. 30, cap. 42. 

'' Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 6, cap. 18. 


character of the resistance ; and the Peruvian annals 
contain more than one of those sanguinary pages 
which cannot be pondered at the present day without 
a shudder. It should be added that the beneficent 
policy which I have been delineating as characteristic 
of the Incas did not belong to all, and that there was 
more than one of the royal line who displayed a full 
measure of the bold and unscrupulous spirit of the 
vulgar conqueror. 

The first step of the government after the reduction 
of a country was to introduce there the worship of the 
Sun. Temples were erected, and placed under the 
care of a numerous priesthood, who expounded to the 
conquered people the mysteries of their new faith and 
dazzled them by the display of its rich and stately 
ceremonial. *=■ Yet the religion of the conquered was 
not treated with dishonor. The Sun was to be wor- 
shipped above all ; but the images of their gods were 
removed to Cuzco and established in one of the tem- 
ples, to hold their rank among the inferior deities 
of the Peruvian Pantheon. Here they remained as 
hostages, in some sort, for the conquered nation, which 
would be the less inclined to forsake its allegiance when 
by doing so it must leave its own gods in the hands of 
its enemies. *3 

The Incas provided for the settlement of their new 
conquests, by ordering a census to be taken of the 
population and a careful survey to be made of the 
country, ascertaining its products and the character 

*= Sarniiei>.to, Relacion, MS., cap. 14. 

63 j\costa, lib. 5, cap. 12.— Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i. lib. 5, 
cap. 12. 


and capacity of its soil/* A division of the territory 
was then made on the same principle with that adopted 
throughout their own kingdom, and their respective 
portions were assigned to the Sun, the sovereign, and 
the people. The amount of the last was regulated by 
the amount of the population, but the share of each 
individual was uniformly the same. It may seem 
strange that any people should patiently have acqui- 
esced in an arrangement which involved such a total 
surrender of property. But it was a conquered nation 
that did so, held in awe, on the least suspicion of 
meditated resistance, by armed garrisons, who were 
established at various commanding points throughout 
the country. *5 It is probable, too, that the Incas made 
no greater changes than was essential to the new 
arrangement, and that they assigned estates, as far as 
possible, to their former proprietors. The curacas, in 
particular, were confirmed in their ancient authority; 
or, when it was found expedient to depose the existing 
curaca, his rightful heir was allowed to succeed him.** 
Every respect was shown to the ancient usages and 
laws of the land, as far as was compatible with the 
fundamental institutions of the Incas. It must also be 
remembered that the conquered tribes were, many of 
them, too little advanced in civilization to possess that 
attachment to the soil which belongs to a cultivated 
nation.*^ But, to whatever it be referred, it seems prob- 

*4 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 13, 14. — Sarmiento, 
Relacion, MS., cap. 15. 

*5 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 19. 

** Fernandez, Hist, del Peru, Parte 2, lib. 3, cap. 11. 

*7 Sarmiento has given a very full and interesting account of the 
sing\ilE.rly humane policy observed by the Incas in their conquests. 


able that the extraordinary institutions of the Incas 
were established with little opposition in the conquered 

Yet the Peruvian sovereigns did not trust altogether 
to this show of obedience in their new vassals ; and, 
to secure it more effectually, they adopted some expe- 
dients too remarkable to be passed over in silence. Im- 
mediately after a recent conquest, the curacas and their 
families were removed for a time to Cuzco. Here they 
learned the language of the capital, became familiar 
with the manners and usages of the court, as well as 
with the general policy of the government, and expe- 
rienced such marks of favor from the sovereign as would 
be most grateful to their feelings and might attach 
them most warmly to his person. Under the influ- 
ence of these sentiments, they were again sent to rule 
over their vassals, but still leaving their eldest sons 
in the capital, to remain there as a guarantee for 

forming a striking contrast with the usual course of those scourges of 
mankind, whom mankind is wise enough to requite %vith higher admi- 
ration, even, than it bestows on its benefactors. As Sarmiento, who 
was President of the Royal Council of the Indies, and came into the 
country soon after the Conquest, is a high authority, and as his work,* 
lodged in the dark recesses of the Escorial, is almost unknown, I have 
transferred the whole chapter to Appendix No. 3. 

68 According to Velasco, even the powerful state of Quito, suffi- 
ciently advanced in civilization to have the law of property well recog- 
nized by its people, admitted the institutions of the Incas "not only 
without repugnance, but with joy." (Hist, de Quito, tom. ii. p. 183.) 
But Velasco, a modern authority, believed easily ,^-or reckoned on his 
readers' doing so. 

• [Sarmiento never visited America, and, as already mentioned, was 
not the author of the work here referred to. See infra, p. 178. — Ed.] 


their own fidelity, as well as to grace the court of the 

Another expedient was of a bolder and more original 
character. This was nothing less than to revolutionize 
the language of the country. South America, like 
North America, had a great variety of dialects, or 
rather languages, having little affinity with one an- 
other. This circumstance occasioned great embarrass- 
ment to the government in the administration of the 
different provinces with whose idioms they were un- 
acquainted. It was determined, therefore, to substitute 
one universal language, the Quichua, — the language of 
the court, the capital, and the surrounding country, — 
the richest and most comprehensive of the South 
American dialects. Teachers were provided in the 
towns and villages throughout the land, who were to 
give instruction to all, even the humblest classes ; and 
it was intimated at the same time that no one should 
be raised to any office of dignity or profit who was un- 
acquainted with this tongue. The curacas and other 
chiefs who attended at the capital became familiar with 
this dialect in their intercourse with the court, and, on 
their return home, set the example of conversing in it 
among themselves. This example was imitated by 
their followers, and the Quichua gradually became the 
language of elegance and fashion, in the same manner 
as the Norman French was affected by all those who 
aspired to any consideration in England after the Con- 
quest. By this means, while each province retained 
its peculiar tongue, a beautiful medium of communica- 
tion was introduced, which enabled the inhabitants of 

*» Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. s, cap. la; lib. 7, cap. a. 


one part of the country to hold intercourse with every 
other, and the Inca and his deputies to communicate 
with all. This was the state of things on the arrival 
of the Spaniards. It must be admitted that history 
furnishes few examples of more absolute authority than 
such a revolution in the language of an empire at the 
bidding of a master. 7° 

Yet little less remarkable was another device of the 
Incas for securing the loyalty of their subjects. When 
any portion of the recent conquests showed a pertina- 
cious spirit of disaffection, it was not uncommon to 
cause a part of the population, amounting, it might be, 
to ten thousand inhabitants or more, to remove to a 
distant quarter of the kingdom, occupied by ancient 
vassals of undoubted fidelity to the crown. A like 
number of these last was transplanted to the territory 
left vacant by the emigrants. By this exchange the 
population was composed of two distinct races, who 
regarded each other with an eye of jealousy, that served 
as an effectual check on any mutinous proceeding. In 
time, the influence of the well-affected prevailed, sup- 
ported as they were by royal authority and by the silent 
working of the national institutions, to which the 
strange races became gradually accustomed. A spirit 

70 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, cap. 35; lib. 7, cap. i, 2. 
— Ondegardo, Rel. Seg.. MS. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 55. — 
" Aun la Criatura no hubiese dejado el Pecho de su Madre quando 
le comenzasen i. mostrar la Lengua que havia de saber; y aunque al 
principio fue dificultoso, € muchos se pusieron en no querer deprender 
mas lenguas de las suyas propias, los Reyes pudieron tanto que salie- 
ron con su intencion y ellos tubieron por bien de cumplirsu mandadoy 
tan de veras se entendio en ello que en tiempo de pocos anosse savia 
y usaba una lengua en mas de mil y doscientas leguas." Ibid., cap. ai 


of loyalty sprang up by degrees in their bosoms, and 
before a generation had passed away the different 
tribes mingled in harmony together as members of the 
same community.'' Yet the different races continued 
to be distinguished by difference of dress ; since, by 
the law of the land, every citizen was required to wear 
the costume of his native province.'' Neither could 
the colonist who had been thus unceremoniously trans 
planted return to his native district. For, by anothei 
l.w, it was forbidden to any one to change his resi- 
dence without license." He was settled for life. The 
Peruvian government prescribed to every man his local 
habitation, his sphere of action, nay, the very nature 
and quality of that action. He ceased to be a free 
agent ; it might be almost said that it relieved him of 
personal responsibility. 

In following out this singular arrangement, the Incas 
showed as much regard for the comfort and conve- 
nience of the colonist as was compatible with the exe- 
cution of their design. They were careful that the 
mitimaes, as these emigrants were styled, should be 
removed to climates most congenial with their own. 
The inhabitants of the cold countries were not trans- 
planted to the warm, nor the inhabitants of the warm 
countries to the cold.'* Even their habitual occupa- 

7» Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Fernandez, Hist, del Peru, Parte 
2, lib. 3, cap. II. 

7» "This regulation," says Father Acosta, " the Incas held to be of 
great importance to the order and right government of the realm." 
Lib. 6, cap. 16. 

73 Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

T> " Trasmutaban de las tales Provincias la cantidad de gente de 
que de ella parecia convenir que saliese, d los cuales mandaban pasar 
i poblar otra tierra del temple y manera de donde salian, si fria fria, 


tions were consulted, and the fisherman was settled in 
the neighborhood of the ocean or the great lakes, 
while such lands were assigned to the husbandman as 
were best adapted to the culture with which he was 
most familiar." And, as migration by many, perhaps 
by most, would be regarded as a calamity, the govern- 
ment was careful to show particular marks of favor to 
the mitimaes, and, by various privileges and immuni- 
ties, to ameliorate their condition, and thus to reconcile 
them, if possible, to their lot.'^ 

The Peruvian institutions, though they may have 
been modified and matured under successive sovereigns, 
all bear the stamp of the same original, — were all cast 
in the same mould. The empire, strengthening and 
enlarging at every successive epoch of its history, was 
in its latter days but the development, on a great scale, 
of what it was in miniature at its commencement, as 
the infant germ is said to contain within itself all the 
ramifications of the future monarch of the forest. 
Each succeeding Inca seemed desirous only to tread in 
the path and carry out the plans of his predecessor. 
Great enterprises, commenced under one, were con- 
tinued by another, and completed by a third. Thus, 
while all acted on a regular plan, without any of the 
eccentric or retrograde movements which betray the 
agency of different individuals, the state seemed to be 

si caliente caliente, en donde les daban tierras, y campos, y casas, 
tanto, y mas como dejaron." Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 19. 

75 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 

7* The descendants of these mitimaes are still to be found in Quito, 
or were so at the close of the last century, according to Velasco, dis- 
tinguished by this nam£ from the rest of the population. Hist, de 
Quito, torn. i. p. 175. 


under the direction of a single hand, and steadily pur- 
sued, as if through one long reign, its great career of 
civilization and of conquest. 

The ultimate aim of its institutions was domestic 
quiet. But it seemed as if this were to be obtained 
only by foreign war. Tranquillity in the heart of the 
monarchy, and war on its borders, was the condition 
of Peru. By this war it gave occupation to a part of 
its people, and, by the reduction and civilization of its 
barbarous neighbors, gave security to all. Every Inca 
sovereign, however mild and benevolent in his domestic 
rule, was a warrior, and led his armies in person. Each 
successive reign extended still wider the boundaries of 
the empire. Year after year saw the victorious monarch 
return laden with spoils and followed by a throng of 
tributary chieftains to his capital. His reception there 
was a Roman triumph. The whole of its numerous 
population poured out to welcome him, dressed in the 
gay and picturesque costumes of the different provinces, 
with banners waving above their heads, and strewing 
branches and flowers along the path of the conqueror. 
The Inca, borne aloft in his golden chair on the 
shoulders of his nobles, moved in solemn procession, 
under the triumphal arches that were thrown across the 
way, to the great temple of the Sun. There, without 
attendants, — for all but the monarch were excluded 
from the hallowed precincts, — the victorious prince, 
stripped of his royal insignia, barefooted, and with all 
humility, approached the awful shrine and offered up 
sacrifice and thanksgiving to the glorious Deity who 
presided over the fortunes of the Incas. This cere- 
mony concluded, the whole population gave itself up 
Peru.— Vol. I. 8 


to festivity; music, revelry, and dancing were heard 
in every quarter of the capital, and illuminations and 
bonfires commemorated the victorious campaign of the 
Inca and the accession of a new territory to his empire." 

In this celebration we see much of the character of 
a religious festival. Indeed, the character of religion 
was impressed on all the Peruvian wars. The life of an 
Inca was one long crusade against the infidel, to spread 
wide the worship of the Sun, to reclaim the benighted 
nations from their brutish superstitions and impart to 
them the blessings of a well-regulated government. 
This, in the favorite phrase of our day, was the "mis- 
sion" of the Inca. It was also the mission of the 
Christian conqueror who invaded the empire of this 
same Indian potentate. Which of the two executed 
his mission most faithfully, history must decide. 

Yet the Peruvian monarchs did not show a childish 
impatience in the acquisition of empire. They paused 
after a campaign, and allowed time for the settlement 
of one conquest before they undertook another, and 
in this interval occupied themselves with the quiet ad- 
ministration of their kingdom, and with the long pro- 
gresses which brought them into nearer intercourse 
with their people. During this interval, also, their 
new vassals had begun to accommodate themselves to 
the strange institutions of their masters. They learned 
to appreciate the value of a government which raised 
them above the physical evils of a state of barbarism, 
secured them protection of person and a full participa- 
tion in all the privileges enjoyed by their conquerors; 

77 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 55. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., 
Parte 1, lib. 3, cap. 11, 17; lib. 6, cap. 16. 


and, as they became more familiar with the peculiar 
institutions of the country, habit, that second nature, 
attached them the more strongly to these institutions 
from their very peculiarity. Thus, by degrees, and 
without violence, arose the great fabric of the Peruvian 
empire, composed of numerous independent and even 
hostile tribes, yet, under the influence of a common 
religion, common language, and common government, 
knit together as one nation, animated by a spirit of 
love for its institutions and devoted loyalty to its sov- 
ereign. What a contrast to the condition of the Aztec 
monarchy, on the neighboring continent, which, com- 
posed of the like heterogeneous materials, without any 
internal principle of cohesion, was only held together 
by the stern pressure, from without, of physical force ! 
Why the Peruvian monarchy should have fared no 
better than its rival in its conflict with European civ« 
ilization will appear in the following pages. 




It is a remarkable fact that many, if not most, of 
the rude tribes inhabiting the vast American continent, 
however disfigured their creeds may have been in other 
respects by a childish superstition, had attained to the 
sublime conception of one Great Spirit, the Creator 
of the Universe, who, immaterial in his own nature, 
was not to be dishonored by an attempt at visible 
representation, and who, pervading all space, was not 
to be circumscribed within the walls of a temple.* Yet 

® [This statement represents what is still, probably, the common 
belief — based on the representations of the early missionaries and of 
many subsequent explorers — in regard to the religious ideas of the 
aboriginal races. The subject has, however, undergone of late a more 
critical investigation, in connection with the general inquiry as to the 
development of religious conceptions, and of monotheism, considered 
either as an original intuition or as the latest outcome of more primi- 
tive beliefs. Dr. Brinton, who considers that the intuition of an un- 
seen power — "the sum of those intelligent activities which the indi- 
vidual, reasoning from the analogy of his own actions, imagines to be 
behind and to bring about natural phenomena" — is common to the 
species, traces this conception in the American mythologies, especially 
those in which the air, the breath of life, appears as the symbol of an 
animating or creative Spirit. Yet he adds, " Let none of these ex- 
pressions, however, be construed to prove the distinct recognition of 
One Supreme Being. Of monotheism, either as displayed in the one 
personal definite God of the Semitic races, or in the dim pantheistic 


these elevated ideas, so far beyond the ordinary range 
of the untutored intellect, do not seem to have led to 
the practical consequences that might have been ex- 
pected ; and {t\i of the American nations have shown 
much solicitude for the maintenance of a religious 
worship, or found in their faith a powerful spring of 

But with progress in civilization ideas more akin to 
those of civilized communities were gradually unfolded; 
a liberal provision was made, and a separate order in 
stituted, for the services of religion, which were con- 
ducted with a minute and magnificent ceremonial, that 
challenged comparison, in some respects, with that of 
the most polished nations of Christendom. Tliis was 
the case with the nations inhabiting the table-land of 
North America, and with the natives of Bogota, Quito, 
Peru, and the other elevated regions on the great 
Southern continent. It was, above all, the case with 
the Peruvians, who claimed a divine original for the 
founders of their empire, whose laws all rested on a 

sense of the Brahmins, there was not a single instance on the Ameri- 
can continent. . . . The phrases Good Spirit, Great Spirit, and simi- 
lar ones, have occasioned endless discrepancies in the minds of travel- 
lers. In most instances they are entirely of modern origin, coined at 
the suggestion of missionaries, applied to the white man's God." 
(Myths of the New World, p. 52.) Mr. Tylor finds among various 
races of North and South America, of Africa and of Polynesia, the 
"acknowledgment of a Supreme Creator," yet always in connection 
with a system of polytheism, of which this belief is the culmination. 
(Primitive Culture, 2d ed., vol. ii. p. 332.) It may be doubted, how- 
ever, whether it is possible to arrive at any certainty in regard to con- 
ceptions so vague in themselves and so liable to be moulded into defi- 
nite shapes by the mediums through which they are communicated. — 




divine sanction, and whose domestic institutions and 
foreign wars were alike directed to preserve and propa- 
gate their faith. Religion was the basis of their polity, 
the very condition, as it were, of their social existence. 
The government of the Incas, in its essential principles, 
was a theocracy. 

Yet, though religion entered so largely into the fabric 
and conduct of the political institutions of the people, 
their mythology, that is, the traditionary legends by 
which they affected to unfold the mysteries of the uni- 
verse, was exceedingly mean and puerile. Scarce one 
of their traditions — except the beautiful one respecting 
the founders of their royal dynasty — is worthy of note, 
or throws much light on their own antiquities or the 
primitive history of man. Among the traditions of 
importance is one of the deluge, which they held in 
common with so many of the nations in all parts of the 
globe, and which they related with some particulars 
that bear resemblance to a Mexican legend.' 

' They related that, after the deluge, seven persons issued from a 
cave where they had saved themselves, and by them the earth was 
repeopled. One of the traditions of the Mexicans deduced their de- 
scent, and that of the kindred tribes, in like manner, from seven per- 
sons who came from as many caves in Aztlan.* (Conf. Acosta, lib. 6, 
cap. 19; lib. 7, cap. 2. — Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS.) The story of 
the deluge is told by different writers with many variations, in some 
of which it is not difficult to detect the plastic hand of the Christian 

* [A similar tradition is found in some Sanscrit legends. "This 
coincidence," remarks Dr. Brinton, " arises from the mystic powers 
attached to the number seven, derived from its frequent occurrence in 
astrology." (Myths of the New World, p. 203.) Yet the evidence he 
adduces will hardly apply to the American myths. — Ed.] 


Their ideas in respect to a future state of being de- 
serve more attention. They admitted the existence of 
the soul hereafter, and connected with this a belief in 
the resurrection of the body. Tliey assigned two dis- 
tinct places for the residence of the good and of the 
wicked, the latter of which they fixed in the centre of 
the earth. The good, they supposed, were to pass a 
luxurious life of tranquillity and ease, which compre- 
hended their highest notions of happiness. The 
wicked were to expiate their crimes by ages of weari- 
some labor. They associated with these ideas a belief 
in an evil principle or spirit, bearing the name of 
^upay, whom they did not attempt to propitiate by 
sacrifices, and who seems to have been only a shadowy 
personification of sin,* that exercised little influence 
over their conduct.' 

3 Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — Gomara, Hist, de las Ind., cap. 123. 
— Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 2, 7. — One might sup- 
pose that the educated Peruvians — if I may so speak — imagined the 
common people had no souls, so little is said of their opinions as to 
the condition of these latter in a future life, while they are diffuse on 
the prospects of the higher orders, which they fondly believed were to 
keep pace with their condition here. 

* [Dr. Brinton, citing with approval the remark of Jacob Grimm, 
that " the idea of the Devil is foreign to all primitive religions," denies 
that such a conception had any existence in the American mythologies, 
and contends that " the (^upay of the Peruvians never was, as Prescott 
would have us believe, the shadowy embodiment of evil, but simply 
and solely their god of the dead, the Pluto of their pantheon, corre- 
sponding to the iVIictla of the Mexicans." It is certain that many 
myths of the American Indians, in which a good and an evil power 
are opposed to each other, owed this idea to the later introduction of 
the Christian notions of Satan, or to the misconception of narrators 



It was this belief in the resurrection of the body 
which led them to preserve the body with so much 
solicitude, — by a simple process, however, that, unlike 
the elaborate embalming of the Egyptians, consisted 
in exposing it to the action of the cold, exceedingly 
dry, and highly rarefied atmosphere of the mountains. ^ 
As they believed that the occupations in the future 
world would have great resemblance to those of the 
present, they buried with the deceased noble some of 
his apparel, his utensils, and, frequently, his treasures, 
and completed the gloomy ceremony by sacrificing his 
wives and favorite domestics, to bear him company 
and do him service in the happy regions beyond the 
clouds.'* Vast mounds of an irregular or, more fre- 

3 Such, indeed, seems to be the opinion of Garcilasso, though some 
writers speak of resinous and other applications for embalming the 
body. The appearance of the royal mummies found at Cuzco, as 
reported both by Ondegardo and Garcilasso, makes it probable that 
no foreign substance was employed for their preservation. 

* Ondegardo, Rel. Sag., MS. — The Licentiate says that this usage 

influenced by the same belief. Yet Mr. Tylor, while admitting the 
skill with which many of these legends have been analyzed by Dr. 
Brinton, and the general force of his criticism, maintains that "rudi- 
mentary forms of Dualism, the antagonism of a Good and Evil Deity, 
are well known among the lower races of mankind," and, after review- 
ing the evidences of this conception in various stages of development, 
makes the pregnant remark that " the conception of the hght-god as 
the good deity, in contrast to a rival god of evil, is one plainly sug- 
gested by nature." (Primitive Culture, i. 287-297.) It is therefore 
among the sun-worshippers that we might especially expect to find the 
instinctive conception of a power of darkness, as the representative 
not merely of death but of the evil principle. This dualism is, accord- 
ingly, the distinguishing feature of the Zoroastrian religion, and its 
existence in that of Peru cannot well be questioned on the sole ground 
of inherent improbability. — Ed.] 



quently, oblong shape, penetrated by galleries running 
at right angles to each other, were raised over the 
dead, whose dried bodies or mummies have been found 
in considerable numxbers, sometimes erect, but more 
often in the sitting posture common to the Indian 
tribes of both continents. Treasures of great value 
have also been (Kcasionally drawn from these monu- 
mental deposits, and have stimulated speculators to 
repeated excavations with the hope of similar good 
fortune. It was a lottery like that of searching after 
mines, but where the chances have proved still more 
against the adventurers. ^ 

The Peruvians, like so many other of the Indian 
races, acknowledged a Supreme Being, the Creator 
and Ruler of the Universe, whom they adored under 
the different names of Pachacamac and Viracocha.* 

continued even after the Conquest, and that he had saved the life of 
more than one favorite domestic, who had fled to him for protection, 
as they were about to be sacrificed to the Manes of their deceased 
lords. Ibid., ubi supra. 

5 Yet these sepulchral mines have sometimes proved worth the dig- 
ging. Sarmiento speaks of gold to the value of 100,000 castellanos 
as occasionally buried with the Indian lords (Relacion, MS., cap. 57); 
and Las Casas — not the best authority in numerical estimates — says 
that treasures worth more than half a million of ducats had been found 
within twenty years after the Conquest, in the tombs near Truxillo. 
(CEuvres, ed. Llorente (Paris, 1822), torn. ii. p. 192.) Baron Hum- 
boldt visited the sepulchre of a Peruvian prince, in the same quarter 
of the country, whence a Spaniard in 1376 drew forth a mass of gold 
worth a million of dollars ! Vues des Cordilleras, p. 29. 

* Pachacamac signifies " He who sustains or gives life to the uni- 
verse." The name of the great deity is sometimes expressed by both 
Pachacamac and Viracocha combined. (See Balboa, Hist, du Perou, 
chap. 6. — Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 21.) An old Spaniard finds in the popular 
meaning of Viracocha, " foam of the sea," an argument for deriving 


No. temple was raised to this invisible Being, save one 
only in the valley which took its name from the deity 
himself, not far from the Spanish city of Lima. Even 
this temple had existed there before the country came 
under the sway of the Incas, and was the great resort 
of Indian pilgrims from remote parts of the land, — a 
circumstance which suggests the idea that the worship 
of this Great Spirit, though countenanced, perhaps, by 
their accommodating policy, did not originate with the 
Peruvian princes.^* 

the Peruvian civilization from some voyager from the Old World. 
Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

7 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., 
cap. 27. — Ulloa notices the extensive ruins of brick, which mark the 
probable site of the temple of Pachacamac, attesting by their present 
appearance its ancient magnificence and strength. Memoires philoso- 
phiques, historiques, physiques (Paris, 1787), trad. Fr., p. 78. 

* [Not only this inference, but the facts on which it rests, are strenu- 
ously disputed by Mr. Markham, on the ground that Pachacamac "is 
an Ynca word, and is wholly foreign to, and unconnected with, the 
coast language." It was the name, he says, given by the Incas to 
the coast-city, when they conquered it, " for some reason that has not 
been preser\'ed, possibly on account of its size and importance." " The 
natives worshipped a fish-god there under a name now lost, which 
became famous as an oracle and attracted pilgrims ; and when the 
Yncas conquered the place they raised a temple to the Sun on the 
summit of the hill commanding the city." " But they never built any 
temple to Pachacamac, and there never was one to that deity, except 
at Cuzco." (Reports of the Discovery of Peru. Introduction, xiv- 
XX.) There seems to be here much more of assertion than of argu- 
ment or proof The statement that there was a temple to Pachacamac 
.It Cuzco is a novel one, for which no authority is adduced, and it is 
in direct contradiction to the reiterated assertions of Garcilasso, that 
the Peruvians worshipped Pachacamac only " inwardly, as an unknown 
God," to whom they built no temples and offered no sacrifices. For 
the statement that the Incas " erected a temple of the Sun" at Pachaca- 


The deity whose worship they especially inculcated, 
and which they never failed to e^itablish wherever their 
banners were known to penetrate, was the Sun. It was 
he who, in a particular manner, presided over the des- 
tinies of man ; gave light and warmth to the nations, 
and life to the vegetable world; whom they reverenced 
as the father of their royal dynasty, the founder of 
their empire ; and whose temples rose in every city 
and almost every village throughout the land, while 
his altars smoked with burnt-offerings, — a form of 
sacrifice peculiar to the Peruvians among the semi- 
civilized nations of the New World.* 

8 At least, so says Dr. McCulloh ; and no better authority can be 
required on American antiquities. (Researches, p. 392.) Might he 
not have added barbarous nations, also ? 

mac (p. xix), we are referred to Cieza de Leon, who says that "they 
agreed with the native chiefs and with the ministers of this god or devil, 
that the temple of Pachacamac should continue with the authority and 
reverence it formerly possessed, and that the loftiest part should be 
set aside as a temple of the Sun." That the temple had existed long 
prior to the conquest of the place by the Incas is asserted by all 
authorities and attested by the great antiquity of its remains. Garci- 
lasso asserts that its builders had borrowed the conception of Pachaca* 
mac from the Incas, — a less probable supposition than that of Prescott, 
and equally rejected by Mr. Markham, though the statement of the 
same author that "the Yuncas placed their idols in this temple, which 
were figures of fishes," seems to be the chief foundation for his own 
account of the worship practised by the people of the coast, respecting 
which he admits that little is known. What is known of it with any 
certainty comes to us from Garcilasso de la Vega and Cieza de Leon ; 
and both these authorities represent the temple and worship of Pacha- 
camac as having existed in the valley of that name previous to the 
conquest, or rather peaceful subjugation, of the province by the Incas, 
and their sanction of this religion, in conjunction with that of the Sun, 
as the result of a compromise. — Ed.] 


Besides the Sun, the Incas acknowledged various 
objects of worship in some way or other connected 
with this princiijal deity. Such was the Moon, his 
sister-wife ; the Stars, revered as part of her heavenly 
train, — though the fairest of them, Venus, known to 
the Peruvians by the name of Chasca, or the "youth 
with the long and curling locks," was adored as the 
piige of the Sun, whom he attends so closely in his 
rising and in his setting. They dedicated temples also 
to the Thunder and Lightning,' in whom they recog- 
nized the Sun's dread ministers, and to the Rainbow, 
whom they worshipped as a beautiful emanation of their 
glorious deity.'" 

9 Thunder, Lightning, and Thunderbolt could be all expressed by 
the Peruvians in one word, Illapa. Hence some Spaniards have 
inferred a knowledge of the Trinity in the natives! "The Devil stole 
all he could," exclaims Herrera, with righteous indignation. (Hist- 
general, dec. 5, lib. 4, cap. 5.) These, and even rasher conclusions 
(see Acosta, lib. 5, cap. 28), are scouted by Garcilasso, sis inventions 
of Indian converts, willing to please the imaginations of their Chris- 
tian teachers. (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 5, 6; lib. 3, cap. 21.) 
Imposture on the one hand, and credulity on the other, have furnished 
a plentiful har\-est of absurdities, which has been diligently gathered 
in by the pious antiquary of a later generation. 

'° Garcilasso's assertion that these heavenly bodies were objects of 
reverence as holy things, but not of worship (Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 2, cap. I, 23), is contradicted by Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS., — 
Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS., — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 4, 
cap. 4, — Gomara, Hist, de las Ind., cap. 121, — and, I might add, by 
almost ever}' writer of authority whom I have consulted.* It is con- 

* [" Mr. Prescott gives his high authority in support of the Spanish 
historians Ondegardo, Herrera, and Gomara, and against Garcilasso 
de la Vega, in this matter [the worship of lightning and thunder as 
deities]. Yet surely, in a question relating to the religion of his an- 
cestors, the testimony of the Ynca ... is worth more than that of all 


In addition to these, the subjects of the Incas en- 
rolled among their inferior deities many objects in 
nature, as the elements, the winds, the earth, the air, 
great mountains and rivers, which impressed them 
with ideas of sublimity and power, or were supposed 
in some way or other to exercise a mysterious influence 
over the destinies of man." They adopted also a no- 
tion, not unlike that professed by some of the schools 
of ancient philosophy, that every thing on earth had 
its archetype or idea, its mother, as they emphatically 
styled it, which they held sacred, as, in some sort, its 

tradicted, in a manner, by the admission of Garcilasso himself, that 
these several objects were all personified by the Indians as living 
beings, and had temples dedicated to them as such, with their effigies 
delineated in the same manner as was that of the Sun in his dwelling. 
Indeed, the effort of the historian to reduce the worship of the Incas 
to that of the Sun alone is not very reconcilable with what he else- 
where says of the homage paid to Pachacamac, above all, and to 
Rimac, the great oracle of the common people. The Peruvian my- 
thology was, probably, not unlike that of Hindostan, where, under 
two, or at most three, principal deities, were assembled a host of infe- 
rior ones, to whom the nation paid religious homage, as personifica- 
tions of the different objects in nature. 

" Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — These consecrated objects were 
termed huacas, — a word of most prolific import ; since it signified a 
temple, a tomb, any natural object remarkable for its size or shape, 
in short, a cloud of meanings, which by their contradictory sense 
have thrown incalculable confusion over the writings of historians and 

the Spanish historians put together, Cieza de Leon alone excepted." 
(Markham, translation of Garcilasso (1869), vol. i. p. 103, note.) 
''The sun, moon, and thunder appear to have been the deities next in 
■mportance to Pachayachachic; sacrifices were made to them at all the 
periodical festivities, and several of the prayers given by Molina are 
addressed to them." Markham, Rites and Laws of the Yncas (1873), 
Introduction, p. xi. — Eu.] 

Peru. — Vol. I. — E 9 


spiritual essence." But their system, far from being 
limited even to these multiplied objects of devotion, 
embraced within its ample folds the numerous deities 
of the conquered nations, whose images were trans- 
ported to the capital, where the burdensome charges 
of their worship were defrayed by their respective 
provinces. It was a rare stroke of policy in the Incas, 
who could thus accommodate their religion to their 

But the worship of the Sun constituted the peculiar 
care of the Incas, and was the object of their lavish 
expenditure. The most ancient of the many temples 
dedicated to this divinity was in the island of Titicaca, 
whence the royal founders of the Peruvian line were 
said to have proceeded. From this circumstance, this 
sanctuary was held in peculiar veneration. Every 
thing which belonged to it, even the broad fields of 

" " La orden por donde fundavan sus huacas que ellos Uamavan d 
las Idolatrias hera porque decian que todas criava el sol i que les dava 
madre por niadre que mostravan d la tierra, porque decian que tenia 
madre, i tenian le echo su vulto i sus adoratorios, i al fuego decian 
que tambien tenia madre i al mais i d las otras sementeras i d lai 
ovejas iganado decian que tenian madre, i d la chocha ques el brevajo 
que ellos usan decian que el vinagre della hera la madre i lo reveren 
ciavan i llamavan mama agua madre del vinagre, i a cada cosa adora 
van destas de su manera." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

'3 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — So it seems to have been 
regarded by the Licentiate Ondegardo : " E los Idolos estaban en aq' 
galpon grande de la casa del Sol, y cada Idolo destos tenia su servicio 
y gastos y mugeres, y en la casa del Sol le iban d hacer reverercia los 
que venian de su provincial para lo qual e sacrificios que se iiacian 
proveian de su misma tierra ordinaria e muy abundantemente por la 
misma orden que lo Iwcian quando estaba en la misma provincia, que 
daba gran autoridad d mi parecer e aun fuerza d estos Ingas que cierto 
me caus6 gran admiracion." Rel. Seg., MS. 


maize which surrounded the temple and formed part 
of its domain, imbibed a portion of its sanctity. The 
yearly produce was distributed among the different 
public magazines, in small quantities to each, as some- 
thing that would sanctify the remainder of the store. 
Happy was the man who could secure even an ear of 
the blessed harvest for his own granary ! "• 

But the most renowned of the Peruvian temples, the 
pride of the capital, and the wonder of the empire, 
was at Cuzco, where, under the munificence of suc- 
cessive sovereigns, it had become so enriched that 
it received the name of Coricaticha, or "the Place 
of Gold." It consisted of- a principal building and 
several chapels and inferior edifices, covering a large 
extent of ground in the heart of the city, and com- 
pletely encompassed by a wall, which, with the edifices, 
was all constructed of stone. The work was of the 
kind already described in the other public buildings 
of the country, and was so finely executed that a Span- 
iard who saw it in its glory assures us he could call to 
mind only two edifices in Spain which, for their work- 
manship, were at all to be compared with it.'^ Yet 

"4 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 3, cap. 25. 

'5 "Tenia este Templo en circuito mas de quatro cientos pasos, todo 
oercado de una muralla fuerte, labrado todo el edificio de cantera muy 
excelente de fina piedra, muy bien puesta y asentada, y algunas piedras 
eran muy grandes y soberbias, no tenian mezcla de tierra ni cal, sino 
con el betun que ellos suelen hacer sus edificios, y estan tan bien labra- 
das estas piedras que no se les parece mezcla ni juntura ninguna. En 
toda Espaiia no he visto cosa que pueda compafar a estas paredes y 
postura de piedra, sino a la torre que llaman la Calahorra que e:,td 
junto con la puente de Cordoba, y a una obra que vi en Toledo, 
cuando fui i. presentar la primera parte de mi Cronica al Principe 
Dn Felipe." Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 24. 


this substantial and, in some respects, magnificent 
structure was thatched with straw ! 

The interior of the temple was the most worthy of 
admiration. It was literally a mine of gold. On the 
western wall was emblazoned a representation of the 
deity, consisting of a human countenance looking forth 
from amidst innumerable rays of light, which emanated 
from it in every direction, in the same manner as the 
sun is often personified with us. The figure was en- 
graved on a massive plate of gold of enormous dimen- 
sions, thickly powdered with emeralds and precious 
stones.'* It was so situated in front of the great east- 
ern portal that the rays of the morning sun fell directly 
upon it at its rising, lighting up the whole apartment 
with an effulgence that seemed more than natural, and 
which was reflected back from the golden ornaments 
with which the walls and ceiling were everywhere in- 
crusted. Gold, in the figurative language of the people, 
was " the tears wept by the sun," '' and every part of 
the interior of the temple glowed with burnished plates 
and studs of the precious metal. The cornices which 
surrounded the walls of the sanctuary were of the same 
costly material ; and a broad belt or frieze of gold, let 
into the stcflie-work, encompassed the whole exterior 
of the edifice.'' 

>* Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 44, 
52. — " La figura de! Sol, muy grande, hecha de oro obrada muy prima- 
mente engastonada en muchas piedras ricas." Sarmiento, Relacion, 
MS., cap. 24. 

'7 " 1 al oro asimismo decian que era lagrimas que el Sol llorava." 
Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

»8 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 24. — .^ntig. y ^fonumentos del 
Peru, MS. — " Cercada junto d la techumbre de una plancha de oro de 


Adjoining the principal structure were several chapels 
of smaller dimensions. One of them was consecrated 
to the Moon, the deity held next in reverence, as the 
mother of the Incas. Her effigy was delineated in the 
same manner as that of the Sun, on a vast plate that 
nearly covered one side of the apartment. But this 
plate, as well as all the decorations of the building, 
was of silver, as suited to the pale, silvery light of the 
beautiful planet. There were three other chapels, one 
of which was dedicated to the host of Stars, who 
formed the bright court of the Sister of the Sun ; an- 
other was consecrated to his dread ministers of ven- 
geance, the Thunder and the Lightning; and a third, 
to the Rainbow, whose many-colored arch spanned the 
walls of the edifice with hues almost as radiant as its 
own. There were, besides, several other buildings, or 
insulated apartments, for the accommodation of the 
numerous priests who officiated in the services of the 

All the plate, the ornaments, the utensils of every 
description, appropriated to the uses of religion, were 
of gold or silver. Twelve immense vases of the latter 
metal stood on the floor of the great saloon, filled with 
grain of the Indian corn ; ^° the censers for the per- 

palmo i medio de ancho i lo mismo tenian por de dentro en cada bo- 
hio 6 casa i aposento." (Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS.) "Tenia una 
cinta de planchas de oro de anchor de mas de un palmo enlazadar en 
las piedras." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 

»s Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 24. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 
I, lib. 3, cap. 21. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 

=° " El bulto del Sol tenian mui grande de oro, i todo el scrvicio 
desta casa era de plata i oro, i tenian doze horones de plata blanca 
que dos hombres no abrazarian cada uno quadrados, i eran mas altos 


fumeS; the ewers which held the water for sacrifice, the 
pipes which conducted it through subterraneous chan- 
nels into the buildings, the reservoirs that received it, 
even -the agricultural implements used in the gardens 
of the temple, were all of the same rich materials. 
The gardens, like those described belonging to the 
royal palaces, sparkled with flowers of gold and silver, 
and various imitations of the vegetable kingdom. 
Animals, also, were to be found there, — among which 
the llama, with its golden fleece, was most conspicu- 
ous, — executed in the same style, and with a degree 
of skill which, in this instance, probably, did not sur- 
pass the excellence of the material." 

If the ■ reader sees in this fairy picture only the 
romantic coloring of some fabulous El Dorado, he 

que una buena pica donde hechavan el maiz que havian de dar al 
Sol, segun ellos decian que comiese." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. — 
The original, as the Spanish reader perceives, says each of these silver 
vases or bins was as high as a good lance, and so large that two men 
with outspread arms could barely encompass them ! As this might 
perhaps embarrass even the most accommodating faith, I have pre- 
ferred not to become responsible for any particular dimensions. 

«i Levinus Apollonius, fol. 38. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 
3, cap. 24. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — " Tenian un Jar- 
din que los Terrenes eran pedazos de oro fino y estaban aitificiosa- 
mente sembrado de maizales los quales eran oro asi las Caiias de ello 
como las ojas y mazorcas, y estaban tan bien plantados que aunque 
hiciesen recios bientos no se arrancaban. Sin todo esto tenian hechas 
mas dft veinte obejas de oro con sus Corderos y los Pastores con sus 
ondas y cayados que las guardaban hecho de este metal ; havia niurha 
cantidad de Tinajas de oro y de Plata y esmeraldas, vasos. ollas y 
todo genero de vasijas todo de oro fino ; por otras Paredes tenian 
esci'.li)idas y pintadas otras mayores cosas, en fin era uno de los ricos 
Ter.iplos que hubo en el mundo." Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 



must r:call what has been said before in reference to 
the palaces of the Incas, and consider that these 
"Houses of the Sun," as they were styled, were the 
common reservoir into which flowed all the streams of 
public and private benefaction throughout the empire. 
Some of the statements, through credulity, and others, 
in the desire of exciting admiration, may be greatly 
exaggerated ; but in the coincidence of contemporary 
testimony it is not easy to determine the exact line 
which should mark the measure of our skepticism. 
Certain it is that the glowing picture I have given is 
warranted by those who saw these buildings in their 
pride, or shortly after they had been despoiled by the 
cupidity of their countrymen. Many of the costly 
articles were buried by the natives, or thrown into the 
waters of the rivers and the lakes ; but enough remained 
to attest the unprecedented opulence of these religious 
establishments. Such things as were in their nature 
portable were speedily removed, to gratify the craving 
of the Conquerors, who even tore away the solid cor- 
nices and frieze of gold from the great temple, filling 
the vacant places with the cheaper, but — since it affords 
no temptation to avarice — more durable, material of 
plaster. Yet even thus shorn of their splendor the ven- 
erable edifices still presented an attraction to the spoiler, 
who found in their dilapidated walls an inexhaustible 
quarry for the erection of other buildings. On the 
very ground once crowned by the gorgeous Coricancha 
rose the stately church of St. Dominic, one of the most 
magnificent structures of the New World. Fields of 
maize and lucerne now bloom on the spot which glowed 
with the golden gardens of the temple ; and the friar 



chants his orisons within the consecrated precincts once 
occupied by the Children of the Sun.*" 

Besides the great temple of the Sun, there was a 
large number of inferior temples and religious houses 
in the Peruvian capital and its environs, amounting, as 
is stated, to three or four hundred.'^ For Cuzco was 
a sanctified spot, venerated not only as the abode of 
the Incas, but of all those deities who presided over 
the motley nations of the empire. It was the city be- 
loved of the Sun ; where his worship was maintained 
in its splendor; "where every fountain, pathway, and 
wall," says an ancient chronicler, "was regarded as a 
holy mystery."^ And unfortunate was the Indian 
noble who, at some period or other of his life, had 
not made his pilgrimage to the Peruvian Mecca. 

Other temples and religious dwellings were scattered 
over the provinces, and some of them constructed on 
a scale of magnificence that almost rivalled that of the 
metropolis. The attendants on these composed an 
army of themselves. The whole number of function- 
aries, including those of the sacerdotal order, who 
officiated at the Coricancha alone, was no less than four 
thousand. '5 

» Miller's Memoirs, vol. ii. pp. 223, 224. 

=3 Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 4, cap. 8. — " Havia en aquella 
ciudad y legua \ media de la redonda quatrocientos y tantos lugares, 
donde se hacian sacrificios, y se gastava mucha suma de hacienda en 
ellos." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 

^ " Que aquella ciudad del Cuzco era casa y morada de Dioses, 6 
ansi no habia en toda ella fuente ni paso ni pared que no dixesen que 
tenia misterio." Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. 

»s Conq. i Pob. del Pirn, MS. — An army, indeed, if, as Cieza de 
Leon states, the number of priests and menials employed in the famous 
temple of Bilcas, on the route to Chili, amounted to 40,000 ! (Cronica, 



At the liead of all, both here and throughout the 
land, stood the great High-Priest, or Villac Vmu, as 
he was called. He was second only to the Inca in 
dignity, and was usually chosen from his brothers or 
nearest kindred. He was appointed by the monarch, 
and held his office for life; and he, in turn, appointed 
to all the subordinate stations of his own order. This 
order was very numerous. Those members of it who 
officiated in the House of the Sun, in Cuzco, were 
taken exclusively from the sacred race of the Incas. 
The ministers in the provincial temples were drawn 
from the families of the curacas; but the office of 
high-priest in each district was reserved for one of the 
blood royal. It was designed by this regulation to 
preserve the faith in its purity, and to guard against 
any departure from the stately ceremonial which it 
punctiliously prescribed.'^ 

The sacerdotal order, though numerous, was not dis- 
tinguished by any peculiar badge or costume from the 
rest of the nation. Neither was it the sole depository 
of the scanty science of the country, nor was it charged 
with the business of instruction, nor with those paro- 
chial duties, if they may so be called, which bring the 

cap. 89.) Every thing relating to these Houses of the Sun appears 
to have been on a grand scale. But we may easily believe this a 
clerical error for 4000. 

«6 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 27. — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS, 
— It was only while the priests were engaged in the service of the tem- 
ples that they were maintained, according to Garcilasso, from the estates 
of the Sun. At other times they were to get their support from their 
own lands, which, if he is correct, were assigned to them in the same 
manner as to the other orders of the nation. Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 5, cap. 8. 


priest in contact with the great body of the people,— 
as was the case in Mexico. The canse of this peca- 
liarity may probably be traced to the existence of a 
superior order, like that of the Inca nobles, whose 
sanctity of - - - - - ended all human appoint- 

ments tha: eT> grossed whatever th^e 

wasofreli- people. They were, 

in fact, the -Iv «.:ci: ; ... :,:..:c. Doubtless, any of 
them might, as very many of them did, take on them- 
selves the sacerdotal fimctions ; and their own insignia 
and peculiar privileges were too well onderstood to 
require any fiir: r: .:!re to separate them from the 

The du::v; ;: : e ;^^::esi were confined to ministra- 
tion in the temple. Even here his attendance w3b not 
constant, as he was relieved after a stated interval by 
other brethren of his order, who sacceeded one anotho' 
in regular rotation. His science was limited to an 
acquaintance with the fasts and festivals of his leligim, 
and the appropriate ceremonies which distinguished 
them. This, however frivolous might be its character^ 
was no easv '^ -•• - - — - -" - --^ --"-I of the Incas in- 
volved a r: "lex and elalxv- 
ate as ever disdnguisiie : - .i::3n, whether 
pagan or Christian. E. :- .tn^vropriate 
festival, or rather festi-. ; : .; m1 had 
reference : - r great 
periods of i equi- 
noxes. Perhaps the: _ eat of all the national 
solem: -j.y~i, held at the period 
of the . :he Sun, having touched 
the souther. - --.:y of his course, retraced his rith^ 



as if to gladden the hearts of his chosen people by 
his presence. On this occasion the Indian nobles 
from the different quarters of the country thronged 
to the capital to take part in the great relie;ious cele- 

For three days previous, there was a general fast, and 
no fire was allowed to be lighted in the dwellings. 
When the appointed day arrived, the Inca and his 
court, followed by the whole population of the city, 
assembled at early dawn in the great square to greet 
the rising of the Sun. They were dressed in their 
gayest apparel, and the Indian lords vied with each 
other in the display of costly ornaments and jewels 
on their persons, while canopies of gaudy feather-work 
and richly-tmted stuffs, borne by the attendants over 
their heads, gave to the great square, and the streets 
that emptied into it, the appearance of being spread 
over with one vast and magnificent awning. Eagerly 
they watched the coming of their deity, and no sooner 
did his first yellow rays strike the turrets and loftiest 
buildings of the capital than a shout of gratulation 
broke forth from the assembled multitude, accompanied 
by songs of triumph and the wild melody of barbaric 
instruments, that swelled louder and louder as his bright 
orb, rising above the mountain-range towards the east, 
shone in full splendor on his votaries. After the usual 
ceremonies of adoration, a libation was offered to the 
great deity by the Inca, from a huge golden vase, filled 
with the fermented liquor of maize or of maguey, 
which, after the monarch had tasted it himself, he 
dispensed among his royal kindred. These cere- 
monies completed, the vast assembly was arranged 


in order of procession and took its way towards the 

As they entered the street of the sacred edifice, all 
divested themselves of their sandals, except the Inca 
and his family, who did the same on passing through 
the portals of the temple, where none but these august 
personages were admitted. ^^ After a decent time spent 
in devotion, the sovereign, attended by his courtly 
train, again appeared, and preparations were made to 
commence the sacrifice. This, with the Peruvians, 
consisted of animals, grain, flowers, and sweet-scented 
gums, — sometimes of human beings, on which occa- 
sions a child or beautiful maiden was usually selected 
as the victim. But such sacrifices were rare, being 
reserved to celebrate some great public event, as a 
coronation, the birth of a royal heir, or a great vic- 
tory. They were never followed by those cannibal 
repasts familiar to the Mexicans and to many of the 
fierce tribes conquered by the Incas. Indeed, the con- 
quests of these princes might well be deemed a blessing 
to the Indian nations, if it were only from their sup- 
pression of cannibalism, and the diminution, under 
their rule, of human sacrifices.^ 

«7 Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 27. 
— The rSader will find a brilliant, and not very extravagant, account 
of the Peruvian festivals in Marmontel's romance of Les Incas. The 
French author saw in their gorgeous ceremonial a fitting introduction 
to his own literary pageant. Tom. i. chap. 1-4. 

*8 " N'ingun Indio comun osaba pasar por la calle del Sol calzado; 
ni ninguno, aunque fuese mui grand Senor, entrava en !as casas del 
Sol con zapatos." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

"9 Garcilasso de la Vega flatly denies that the Incis were guilty of 
human sacrifices, and maintains, on the other hand, that they uni« 



At the feast of Raymi, the sacrifice usually offered 
was that of the llama ; and the priest, after opening 

formly abolished them in every country they subdued, where they had 
previously existed. (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 9, et alibi.) But 
in this material fact he is unequivocally contradicted by Sarmiento, 
Relacion, MS., cap. 22, — Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS., — Montesinos, 
Mem. antiguas, MS., lib. 2, cap. 8, — Balboa, Hist, du Perou, chap. 
S, 8, — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 72, — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS., 
— Acosta, lib. 5, cap. 19, — and I might add, I suspect, were I to pur- 
sue the inquiry, by nearly every ancient writer of authority ; some of 
whom, having come into the country soon after the Conquest, while 
its primitive institutions were in vigor, are entitled to more deference 
in a matter of this kind than Garcilasso himself. It was natural that 
the descendant of the Incas should desire to relieve his race from so 
odious an imputation ; and we must have charity for him if he does 
show himself on some occasions, where the honor of his country is at 
stake, " high gravel blind." It should be added, injustice to the Pe- 
ruvian government, that the best authorities concur in the admission 
that the sacrifices were few, both in number and in magnitude, being 
reserved for such extraordinary occasions as those mentioned in the 

* [In a long note on the passage in Garcilasso relating to the sub- 
ject, Mr. Markham asserts that " the Yncas did not offer up human 
sacrifices," and, complaining that "Mr. Prescott allows himself to 
accept Spanish testimony in preference to that of the Ynca" Garci- 
lasso, examines the evidence adduced, and rejects it as proceeding 
from credulity, prejudice, and ignorance. Several of the objections 
he alleges would require detailed consideration if the question had not 
since been definitively settled by his own publication, in an English 
translation, of an important and trustworthy account, by Christoval 
de Molina, of the rites practised by the Incas. From this it appears 
that, while the ordinary sacrifices consisted of the " sheep" and 
" lambs" of the country, the great festival called Ccapacocha or Cacha- 
huaca was celebrated with human sacrifices, both at Cuzco and at the 
chief town of each province. The victims consisted of children, male 
and female, aged about ten years, one or two being selected from 
each lineage or tribe. Some were strangled; " from others they took 
out the hearts while yet alive, and offered them to the huacas while 
Peru.— Vol. I. 10 


the body of his victim, sought in the appearances 
which it exhibited to read the lesson of the mysterious 
future. If the auguries were unpropitious, a second 
victim was slaughtered, in the hope of receiving some 
more comfortable assurance. The Peruvian augur might 
have learned a good lesson of the Roman, — to consider 
every omen as favorable which served the interests of 
his country. 3° 

A fire was then kindled by means of a concave mirror 
of polished metal, which, collecting the rays of the sun 
into a focus upon a quantity of dried cotton, speedily 
set it on fire. It was the expedient used on the like 
occasions in ancient Rome, at least under the reign of 
the pious Xuma. When the sky was overcast, and the 
face of the good deity was hidden from his worship- 
pers, which was esteemed a bad omen, fire was obtained 
by means of friction. The sacred flame was intrusted 
to the care of the Virgins of the Sun ; and if, by any 

3° " Augurque cum esset, dicere ausus est, optimis aiispiciis ea geri, 
quae pro reipublicae salute gererentur." (Cicero, De Senectute.) — 
This inspection of the entrails of animals for the purposes of di\ina- 
tion is worthy of note, as a most rare, if not a solitary, instance of 
the kind among the nations of the New World, though so familiar 
in the ceremonial of sacrifice among the pagan nations of the Old. 

yet palpitating." The bodies were interred with the other sacrifices. 
"They also had a custom, when they conquered and subjugated any 
nations, of selecting some of the handsomest of the conquered people 
and sending them to Cuzco, where they were sacrificed to the Sun, 
who as they said, had given them the \ictory." (Fables and Rites 
of the Yncas, pp. 54-59.) Mr. Markham describes the narrative of 
Molina as supplying " more than one incidental corroboration of the 
correctness of Garcilasso's statements," but omits to notice its inci- 
dental contradiction of them on this verj' important point. — Ed.] 

• FESTIVALS. 1 1 1 

neglect, it was suffered to go out in the course of the 
year, the event was regarded as a calamity that boded 
some strange disaster to the monarchy. 3' A burnt-offer- 
ing of the victims was then made on the altars of the 
deity. This sacrifice was but the prelude to the slaugh- 
ter of a great number of llamas, part of the flocks of the 
Sun, which furnished a banquet not only for the Inca 
and his court, but for the people, who made amends at 
these festivals for the frugal fare to which they were 
usually condemned. A fine bread or cake, kneaded 
of maize flour by the fair hands of the Virgins of the 
Sun, was also placed on the royal board, where the 
Inca, presiding over the feast, pledged his great nobles 
in generous goblets of the fermented liquor of the 
country, and the long revelry of the day was closed at 
night by music and dancing. Dancing and drinking 
were the favorite pastimes of the Peruvians. These 
amusements continued for several days, though the 
sacrifices terminated on the first. Such was the great 
festival of Raymi; and the recurrence of this and 
similar festivities gave relief to the monotonous routine 
of toil prescribed to the lower orders of the com- 
munity. ^^ 

In the distribution of bread and wine at this high 
festival, the orthodox Spaniards who first came into 
the country saw a striking resemblance to the Chris- 

31 " Vigilemque sacraverat ignem, 
Excubias divum a;ternas." 

Plutarch, in his life of Numa, describes the reflectors used by the 
Romans for kindling the sacred fire, as concave instruments of brass, 
though not spherical like the Peruvian, but of a triangular form. 

3* Acosta, lib. 5, cap. 28, 29. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib, 
6, cap. 23. 


tian communion; 33 as in the practice of confession 
and penance, which, in a most irregular form indeed, 
seems to have been used by the Peruvians, they dis- 
cerned a coincidence with another of the sacraments 
of the Church. 3* The good fathers were fond of tracing 
such coincidences, which they considered as the con- 
trivance of Satan, who thus endeavored to delude his 
victims by counterfeiting the blessed rites of Chris- 
tianity.3s Others, in a different vein, imagined that 
they saw in such analogies the evidence that some of 
the primitive teachers of the gospel, perhaps an apostle 
himself, had paid a visit to these distant regions and 
scattered over them the seeds of religious truth. 3* But 

33 " That which is most admirable in the hatred and presumption 
of Sathan is, that he not onely counterfeited in idolatry and sacrifices, 
but also in certain ceremonies, our sacraments, which Jesus Christ our 
Lord instituted, and the holy Church uses, having especially pretended 
to imitate, in some sort, the sacrament of the communion, which is the 
most high and divine of all others." Acosta, lib. 5, cap. 23. 

34 Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 4, cap. 4. — Ondegardo, Rel. 
Prim., MS. — " The father of lies would likewise counterfeit the sacra- 
ment of Confession, and in his idolatries sought to be honored with 
ceremonies very like to the manner of Christians." Acosta, lib. 5, 
cap. 25. 

35 Cieza de Leon, not content with many marvellous accounts of 
the influence and real apparition of Satan in the Indian ceremonies, 
has garnished his volume with numerous wood-cuts representing the 
Prince of Evil in bodily presence, with the usual accompanime:its of 
tail, claws, etc., as if to re-enforce the homilies in his text ! The Peru- 
vian saw in his idol a god. His Christian conqueror saw in it the 
Devil. One may be puzzled to decide which of the two might lay 
claim to the grossest superstition. 

36 Piedrahita, the historian of the Muyscas, is satisfied that this 
apostle must have been St. Bartholomew, whose travels were known 
to have been extensive. (Conq. de Granada, Parte i, lib. i, cap. 3.) 
The Mexican antiquaries consider St. Thomas as having had charge 



it seems hardly necessary to invoke the Prince of Dark- 
ness, or the intervention of the blessed saints, to ac- 
count for coincidences which have existed in countries 
far removed from the light of Christianity, and in 
ages, indeed, when its light had not yet risen on the 
world. It is much more reasonable to refer such 
casual points of resemblance to the general constitu- 
tion of man and the necessities of his moral nature. ^^ 

Another singular analogy with Roman Catholic in- 
stitutions is presented by the Virgins of the Sun, the 
"elect," as they were called, ^^ to whom I have already 
had occasion to refer. These were young maidens, 
dedicated to the service of the deity, who, at a tender 
age, were taken from their homes and introduced into 
convents, where they were placed under the care of 
certain elderly matrons, mamaconas, who had grown 
gray within their walls. 3' Under these venerable guides 
the holy virgins were instructed in tlie nature of their 

of the mission to the people of Anahnac. These two apostles, then, 
would seem to liave divided the New World, at least the civilized por- 
tions of it, between them. How they came, whether by Behring's 
Straits, or directly across the Atlantic, we are not informed. Velasco 
— a writer of the eighteenth century ! — has little doubt that they did 
really come. Hist, de Quito, torn. i. pp. 89, 90. 

37 The subject is illustrated by some examples in the " History of 
the Conquest of Mexico," vol. iii.. Appendix No. I ; since the same 
usages in that country led to precisely the same rash conclusions 
among the Conquerors. 

38 " Llamavase Casa de Escogidas ; porque las escogian, 6 por 
Linage, 6 por Hermosura." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 4, 
cap. I. 

39 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — The word matnacotia signified 
" matron;" mama, the first half of this compound word, as already 
noticed, meaning "mother." See Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
\ib. 4, cap. I. 



religious du(.ies. They were employed in spinning and 
embroidery, and, with the fine hair of the vicuna, wove 
the hangings for the temples, and the apparel for the 
Inca and his household/" It was their duty, above all, 
to watch over the sacred fire obtained at the festival of 
Raynii. From the moment they entered the establish- 
ment, they were cut off from all connection with the 
world, even with their own family and friends. No 
one but the Inca, and the Coya or queen, might enter 
the consecrated precincts. The greatest attention was 
paid to their morals, and visitors were sent every year 
to inspect the institutions and to report on the state 
of their discipline.*' Woe to the unhappy maiden who 
was detected in an intrigue ! By the stern law of the 
Incas, she was to be buried alive, her lover was to be 
strangled, and the town or village to which he be- 
longed was to be razed to the ground, and "sowed 
with stones," as if to efface every memorial of his ex- 
istence.*^ One is astonished to find so close a resem- 

*P Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 

♦' Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. 

4= Balboa, Hist, du Perou, chap. 9. — Fernandez, Hist, del Peru, 
Parte 2, lib. 3, cap. 11. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 
3. — According to the historian of the Incas, the terrible penalty was 
never incurred by a single lapse on the part of the fair sisterhood; 
though, if it had been, the sovereign, he assures us, would have " ex- 
acted it to the letter, with as little compunction as he would have 
drowned a puppy." (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 3.) Other 
wr'ters contend, on the contrary, that these Virgins had very little 
claim to the reputation of Vestals. (See Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y 
Conq., MS. — Gomara, Hist, de las Ind., cap. 121.) Such impjtations 
are common enough on the inhabitants of religious houses, whether 
pagan or Christian. They are contradicted in the present instance by 
the concurrent testimony of most of those who had the best oppor- 


blance between the institutions of the American Indian, 
the ancient Roman, and the modern Catholic! Chas- 
tity and purity of life are virtues in woman that would 
seem to be of equal estimation with the barbarian 
and with the civilized. — Yet the ultimate destination 
of the inmates of these religious houses was materially 

The great establishment at Cuzco consisted wholly 
of maidens of the royal blood, who amounted, it is 
said, to no less than fifteen hundred. The provincial 
convents were supplied from the daughters of the Ca- 
racas and inferior nobles, and occasionally, where a 
girl was recommended by great personal attractions, 
from the lower classes of the people. '•^ The " Houses 
of the Virgins of the Sun" consisted of low ranges of 
stone buildings, covering a large extent of ground, 
surrounded by high walls, which excluded those within 
entirely from observation. They were provided with 
every accommodation for the fair inmates, and were 
embellished in the same sumptuous and costly manner 
as the palaces of the Incas, and the temples ; for they 
received the particular care of the government, as an 
important part of the religious establishment.'''' 

Yet the career of all the inhabitants of these cloisters 
was not confined within their narrow walls. Though 
Virgins of the Sun, they were brides of the Inca, and 
at a marriageable age the most beautiful among them 

tunity of arriving at truth, and are made particularly improbable by 
the superstitious reverence entertained for the Incas. 

•♦3 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real.. 
Parte i, lib. 4, cap. I. 

♦♦ Ibid., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 5. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 44. 


were selected for the honors of his bed and transferred 
to the royal seraglio. The full complement of this 
amounted in time not only to hundreds, but thousands, 
who all found accommodations in his different palaces 
throughout the country. When the monarch was dis- 
posed to lessen the number of his establishment, the 
concubine with whose society he was willing to dis- 
pense returned, not to her former monastic residence, 
but to her own home \ where, however humble might 
be her original condition, she was maintained in great 
state, and, far from being dishonored by the situation 
she had filled, was held in universal reverence as the 
Inca's bride. •'5 

The great nobles of Peru were allowed, like their 
sovereign, a plurality of wives. The people, generally, 
whether by law, or by necessity stronger than law, were 
more happily limited to one. Marriage was conducted 
in a manner that gave it quite as original a character 
as belonged to the other institutions of the country. 
On an appointed day of the year, all those of a mar- 
riageable age — which, having reference to their ability 
to take charge of a family, in the males was fixed at 
not less than twenty-four years, and in the women at 
eighteen or twenty — were called together in the great 
squares of their respective towns and villages, through- 
out the empire. The Inca presided in person over the 
assembly of his own kindred, and, taking the hands of 
the different couples who were to be united, he placed 
them within each other, declaring the parties man and 
wife. The same was done by the curacas towards all 

<S Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 4, cap. 4. — Montesinos, Mem. antiguas, MS., lib. 2, cap. 19. 


persons of their own or inferior degree in their several 
districts. This was the simple form of marriage in 
Peru. No one was allowed to select a wife beyond the 
community to which he belonged, which generally 
comprehended all his own kindred;''* nor was any but 
tlie sovereign authorized to dispense with the law of 
nature — or, at least, the usual law of nations — so far as 
to marry his own sister.'"' No marriage was esteemed 
valid without the consent of the parents; and the pref- 
erence of the parties, it is said, was also to be con- 
sulted ; though, considering the barriers imposed by 
the prescribed age of the candidates, this must have 
been within -rather narrow and whimsical limits. A 
dwelling was got ready for the new-married pair at the 
charge of the district, and the prescribed portion of 
land assigned for their maintenance. The law of Peru 
provided for the future, as well as for the present. It 
left nothing to chance. The simple ceremony of mar- 
riage was followed by general festivities among the 
friends of the parties, which lasted several days ; and 
as every wedding took place on the same day, and as 
there were few families who had not some one of their 
members or their kindred personally interested, there 

4" By the strict letter of the law, according to Garcilasso, no one 
was to marry out of his own lineage. But this narrow rule had a most 
hb»ral interpretation, since all of the same town, and even province, 
he assures us, were reckoned of kin to one another. Com. Real., 
Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 8. 

47 Fernandez, Hist, del Peru, Parte 2, lib. 3, cap. 9. — 'I his practice, 
so revolting to our feelings that it might well be deemed to violate the 
law of nature, must not, however, be regarded as altogether peculiar 
to the Incas, since it was countenanced by some of the most polished 
nations of a/itiquity. 


was one universal bridal jubilee throughout the em- 
pire. ■•^ 

The extraordinary regulations respecting marriage 
under the Incas are eminently characteristic of the 
genius of the government ; which, far from limiting 
itself to matters of public concern, penetrated into the 
most private recesses of domestic life, allowing no man, 
however humble, to act for himself, even in those per- 
sonal matters in which none but himself, or his family 
at most, might be supposed to be interested. No 
Peruvian was too low for the fostering vigilance of 
government. None was so high that he was not made 
to feel his dependence upon it in every act of his life. 
His very existence as an individual was absorbed in 
that of the community. His lippes and his fears, his 
joys and his sorrows, the tenderest sympathies of his 
nature, which would most naturally shrink from ob- 
servation, were all to be regulated by law. He was 
not allowed even to be happy in his own way. The 
government of the Incas was the mildest, but the most 
searching, of despotisms. 

•♦8 Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — Gaxcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 
6, cap. 36. — Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Montesinos, Mem. antiguas, 
MS., lib. 2, cap. 6. 

[The precise nature of the Peruvian religion does not seem to have 
been much elucidated by the discussions it has undergone in recent 
years. The chief source of perplexity lies in the recognition of a 
Creator, or World-Deity, side by side with the adoration of the Sun 
as the presiding divinity and direct object of worship. Mr. Tylor 
speaks of this as a " rivalry full of interest in the history of barbaric 
religion ;" and he takes the view that the Sun, originally " a subordinate 
God," " the divine ancestor of the Inca family," " by virtue of his nearer 
intercourse and power," gradually " usurped the place of the Supreme 


Deity." (Conf. Primitive Culture, ist edition, vol. ii. p. 307, and 2d 
edition, vol. ii. p. 338.) But the facts cited in support of this theory 
are too sliglit or too questionable to form a sufficient basis for it. The 
reported speech of one of the later Incas, in which the doctrine that 
the Sun is " the maker of all things," or himself " a living thing," is 
condemned, and he is compared to " a beast who makes a daily round 
under the eye of a master," " an arrow which must go whither it is 
sent, not whither it wishes," may be regarded as, what Mr. Tylor 
indeed calls it, "a philosophic protest,'' and as nothing more. The 
forms of prayer collected by Molina from the lips of certain aged 
Indians, addressed conjointly to the Creator, the Sun, and the Thun- 
der, prove, if any thing, that the supremacy of the first-mentioned 
person in this singular trinity was an article of that "state church" 
which, according to Mr. Tylor, organized the worship of the Sun and 
raised it to predominance. As to the statement, on Mr. Markham's 
authority, that the great temple at Cuzco was originally dedicated to 
Pachacam<ac, this seems to rest merely on a tradition related by Molina, 
which attributes the enlargement of the temple and the erection of a 
golden statue to the Creator to the same Inca who is represented as 
having denied the divinity of the Sun. In fact, the whole of this 
evidence better accords with the view taken by M. Desjardins, who 
considers the Inca referred to — Yupanqui according to most authori- 
ties — as having introduced the worship of Pachacamac at Cuzco, 
where before the Sun had been worshipped as the Supreme God. 
(Le Perou avant la Conquete espagnol, p. 94.) " But these notions," 
he remarks, " of an immaterial, infinite, and eternal God could not 
easily penetrate the minds of the multitude, who adhered to their 
ancient superstitions." (Ibid., p. 103.) That the complex character of 
the Peruvian mythology proceeded chiefly from the union under one 
government of several different races, and the tolerance, arid to some 
extent the adoption, by the conquerors of various local or tribal re- 
ligions, is a point on which all who have given the subject any close 
investigation concur. (See Brinton, Myths of the New World, p. 176, 
etal.) Hence the variety and conflicting character of the traditions, 
which cannot be constructed into a system, since they represent di^err.pi 
and perhaps fluctuating conceptions. — Ed.] 




"Science was not intended for the people; but for 
those of generous blood. Persons of low degree are 
only puffed up by it, and rendered vain and arrogant. 
Neither should such meddle with the affairs of govern- 
ment ; for this would bring high offices into disrepute, 
and cause detriment to the state." ' Such was the 
favorite maxim, often repeated, of Tupac Inca Yupan- 
qui, one of the most renowned of the Peruvian sove- 
reigns. It may seem strange that such a maxim should 
ever have been proclaimed in the New World, where 
popular institutions have been established on a more 
extensive scale than was ever before witnessed ; where 
government rests wholly on the people, and education 
— at least, in the great northern division of the conti- 
nent — is mainly directed to qualify the people for the 
duties of government. Yet this maxim was strictly 
conformable to the genius of the Peruvian monarchy, 
and may serve as a key to its habitual policy; since, 

' "No es licito, que ensenen k los hijos de los Plebeios, las Ciencias, 
que pertenescen h. los Generosos, y no mas; porque como Gente baja, 
no se eleven, y ensobervezcan, y menoscaben, y apoquen la Repub- 
lica: bastales, que aprendan los Oficios de sus Padres; que el Man- 
dar, y Governar no es de Plebeios, que es hacer agravio al Oficio, y 
k la Republica. encomendarsela k Gente comun." Garcilasso, Com. 
Real., Parte i, lib. 8, cap. -8. 


while it watched with unwearied solicitude over its 
subjects, provided for their physical necessities, was 
mindful of their morals, and showed, throughout, the 
affectionate concern of a parent for his children, it yet 
regarded them only as children, who were never to 
emerge from the state of pupilage, to act or to think 
for themselves, but whose whole duty was comprehended 
in the obligation of implicit obedience. 

Such was the humiliating condition of the people 
under the Incas, while the numerous families of the 
blood royal enjoyed the benefit of all the light of 
education which the civilization of the country could 
afford, and long after the Conquest the spots continued 
to be pointed out where the seminaries had existed for 
their instruction. These were placed under the care 
of the amautas, or "wise men," who engrossed the 
scanty stock of science — if science it could be called 
— possessed by the Peruvians, and who were the sole 
teachers of youth. It was natural that the monarch 
should take a lively interest in the instruction of the 
young nobility, his own kindred. Several of the Pe- 
ruvian princes are said to have built their palaces in 
the neighborhood of the schools, in order that they 
might the more easily visit them and listen to the lec- 
tures of the amautas, which they occasionally re-enforced 
by a homily of their own.' In these schools the royal 
pupils were instructed in all the different kinds of 
knowledge in which their teachers were versed, with 

» Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 7, cap. 10. — The descendant 
of the Incas notices the remains, visible in his day, of two of the 
palaces of his royal ancestors, which had been built in the vicinity 
of the schools, for more easy access to them. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — F II 



especial reference to the stations they were to occupy 
in after-life. They studied the laws, and the principles 
of administering the government, in which many of 
them were to take part. They were initiated in the 
peculiar rites of their religion most necessary to those 
who were to assume the sacerdotal functions. They 
learned also to emulate the achievements of their royal 
ancestors by listening to the chronicles compiled by 
the amautas. They were taught to speak their own 
dialect with purity and elegance; and they became 
acquainted with the mysterious science of the quipus, 
which supplied the Peruvians with the means of com- 
municating their ideas to one another, and of trans- 
mitting them to future generations.^ 

The quipu was a cord about two feet long, composed 
of different-colored threads tightly twisted together, 
from which a quantity of smaller threads were sus- 
pended in the manner of a fringe. The threads were 
of different colors, and were tied into knots. The 
word quipu, indeed, signifies a knot. The colors 
denoted sensible objects; as, for instance, white repre- 
sented silver, and yellow, gold. They sometimes also 
stood for abstract ideas. Thus, white signified peace, 
and red, war. But the quipus were chiefly used for 
arithmetical purposes. The knots served instead of 
ciphers, and could be combined in such a manner as 
to represent numbers to any amount they required. 
By means of these they went through their calculations 
with great rapidity, and the Spaniards who first visited 
the country bear testimony to their accuracy. ■♦ 

3 GarcJlasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 4, cap. 19. 

< Conquista i Poblacion del Piru, MS. — Sarmiento, Relacion, 

QUIPUS. 123 

Officers were established in each of the districts, 
who, under the title of quipucamayus, or ''keepers of 
the quipus," were required to furnish the government 
with information on various important matters. One 
Iiad charge of the revenues, reported the quantity of 
raw material distributed among the laborers, the quality 
and quantity of the fabrics made from it, and the 
amount of stores, of various kinds, paid into the royal 
magazines. Another exhibited the register of births 
and deaths, the marriages, the number of those quali- 
fied to bear arms, and the like details in reference to 
the population of the kingdom. These returns were 
annually forwarded to the capital, where they were 
submitted to the inspection of officers acquainted with 
the art of deciphering these mystic records. The 
government was thus provided with a valuable mass of 
statistical information, and the skeins of many-colored 
threads, collected and carefully preserved, constituted 
what might be called the national archives. * 

But, although the quipus sufficed for all the pur- 

MS., cap. 9. — Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 8. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
lib. 6, cap. 8. 

S Ondegardo expresses his astonishment at the variety of objects 
embraced by these simple records, " hardly credible by one who had 
not seen them." " En aquella ciudad se hallaron muchos viejos oficiales 
antiguos del Inga, asi de la religion, como del Govierno, y otra cosa 
que no pudiera creer sino la viera, que por hilos y nudes se hallan figu- 
radas las leyes, y estatutos asi de lo uno como de lo otro, y las suce- 
siones de los Reyes y tiempo que governaron : y hallose lo que todo 
esto tenian a su cargo que no fue poco, y aun tube alguna claridad de los 
estatutos que en tiempo de cada uno se havian puesto." (Rel. Prim., 
MS.) (See also Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 9. — Acosta, lib. 6, 
cap. 8. — Garcilasso, Parte i, lib. 6, cap. 8, 9.) A vestige of the quipus 
is jtill to be found in some parts of Peru, where the shepherds keep the 
tallies of their numerous flocks by means of this ancient arithmetic. 


poses of arithmetical computation demanded by the 
Peruvians, they were incompetent to represent the 
manifold ideas and images which are expressed by 
writing. Even here, however, the invention was not 
without its use. For, independently of the direct rep- 
resentation of simple objects, and even of abstract 
i'leas, to a very limited extent, as above noticed, it 
afforded great help to the memory by way of associa- 
tion. The peculiar knot or color, in this way, suggested 
what it could not venture to represent ; in the same man- 
ner — to borrow the homely illustration of an old writer 
— as the number of the Commandment calls to mind 
the Commandment itself. The quipus, thus used, might 
be regarded as the Peruvian system of mnemonics. 

Annalists were appointed in each of the principal 
communities, whose business it was to record the most 
important events which occurred in them. Other 
functionaries of a higher character, usually the amau- 
tas, were intrusted with the history of the empire, and 
were selected to chronicle the great deeds of the reign- 
ing Inca, or of his ancestors.* The narrative, thus 
concocted, could be communicated only by oral tra- 
dition; but the quipus served the chronicler to arrange 
the incidents with method and to refresh his memory. 
The story, once treasured up in the mind, was indelibly 
impressed there by frequent repetition. It was repeated 
by the amauta to his pupils, and in this way history, 
conveyed partly by oral tradition and partly by arbi- 
trary signs, was handed down from generation to gen- 
eration, with sufficient discrepancy of details, but with 
a general conformity of outline to the truth. 

* Garcilasso, ubi supra. 

QUIPUS. 125 

Th2 Peruvian quipus were, doubtless, a wretched 
substitute for that beautiful contrivance, the alphabet, 
which, employing a few simple characters" as the repre- 
sentatives of sounds instead of ideas, is able to convey 
the most delicate shades of thought that ever passed 
through the mind of man. The Peruvian invention, 
indeed, was far below that of the hieroglyphics, even 
below the rude picture-writing of the Aztecs; for the 
latter art, however incompetent to convey abstract 
ideas, could depict sensible objects with tolerable accu- 
racy. It is an evidence of the total ignorance in which 
the two nations remained of each other, that the Peru- 
vians should have borrowed nothing of the hieroglyph- 
ical system of the Mexicans, and this, notwithstanding 
that the existence of the maguey-plant, agave, in South 
America might have furnished them with the very 
material used by the Aztecs for the construction of 
their maps.' 

It is impossible to contemplate without interest the 
struggles made by different nations, as they emerge 
from barbarism, to supply themselves with some visible 
symbol of thought, — that mysterious agency by which 
the mind of the individual may be put in communi- 
cation with the minds of a whole community. The 
want of such a symbol is itself the greatest impediment 
to the progress of civilization. For what is it but to 
imprison the thought, which has the elements of im- 

^ Garcilasso, ubi supra. — Dec. de la Au(i. Real., MS. — Sarmiento. 
Relacion, MS., cap. 9. — Yet the quipus must be allowed to bear some 
resemblance to the belts of wampum — made of colored beads strung 
together — in familiar use among the North American tribes for com- 
memorating treaties, and for other purposes. 


mortality, within the bosom of its author, or of the 
small circle who come in contact with him, instead of 
sending it a"broad to give light to thousands and to 
generations yet unborn ! Not only is such a symbol 
an essential element of civilization, but it may be as- 
sumed as the very criterion of civilization \ for the 
intellectual advancement of a people will keep pace 
pretty nearly with its facilities for intellectual com- 

Yet we must be careful not to underrate the real 
value of the Peruvian system, nor to suppose that the 
quipus were as awkward an*instrument in the hand of 
a practised native as they would be in ours. We know 
the effect of habit in all mechanical operations, and 
the Spaniards bear constant testimony to the adroitness 
and accuracy of the Peruvians in this. Their skill is 
not more surprising than the facility with which habit 
enables us to master the contents of a printed page, 
comprehending thousands of separate characters, by a 
single glance, as it were, though each character must 
require a distinct recognition by the eye, and that, too, 
without breaking the chain of thought in the reader's 
mind. We must not hold the invention of the quipus 
too lightly, when we reflect that they supplied the 
means of calculation demanded for the affairs of a great 
nation, and that, however insufficient, they afforded 
no little help to what aspired to the credit of literary 

The office of recording the national annals was nol 
wholly confined to the amautas. It was assumed ir 
part by the haravecs, or poets, who selected the most 
brilliant incidents for their songs or ballads, which 

QUIP us. 12* 

were chanted at the royal festivals and at the table of 
the Inca.* In this manner a body of traditional min- 
strelsy grew up, like the British and Spanish ballad 
poetry, by means of which the name of many a rude 
chieftain, that might have perished for want of a chron- 
icler, has been borne down the tide of rustic melody 
to later generations. 

Yet history may be thought not to gain much by this 
alliance with poetry; for the domain of the poet extends 
over an ideal realm peopled with the shadowy forms of 
fancy, that bear little resemblance to the rude realities 
of life. The Peruvian annals may be deemed to show 
somewhat of the effects of this union, since there is a 
tinge of the marvellous spread over them down to the 
very latest period, which, like a mist before the reader's 
eye, makes it difficult to distinguish between fact and 

The poet found a convenient instrument for his 
purposes in the beautiful Quichua dialect. We have 
already seen the extraordinary measures taken by the 
Incas for propagating their language throughout their 
empire. Thus naturalized in the remotest provinces, 
it became enriched by a variety of exotic words and 
idioms, which, under the influence of the court and of 
poetic culture, if I may so express myself, was gradually 
blended, like some finished mosaic made up of coarse 
and disjointed materials, into one harmonious whole. 

* Dec. de la Aud. Real., MS. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 
2, cap. 27. — The word haravec signified " inventor" or " finder;" and 
in his title, as well as in his functions, the minstrel-poet may remind 
us of the Norman trouvire. Garcilasso has translated one of the 
little lyrical pieces of his countrymen. It is light and lively ; but one 
short specimen affords no basis for general criticism. 


The Quichua became the most comprehensive and vari- 
ous, as well as the most elegant, of the South American 

Besides the compositions already noticed, the Peru- 
vians, it is said, showed some talent for theatrical exhi- 
bitions; not those barren pantomimes which, addressed 
simply to the eye, have formed the amusement of more 
than one rude nation. The Peruvian pieces aspired to 
the rank of dramatic compositions, sustained by char- 
acter and dialogue, founded sometimes on themes of 
tragic interest, and at others on such as, from their 
light and social character, belong to comedy." Of the 
e.xecution of these pieces we have now no means of 
judging.* It was probably rude enough, as befitted an 

9 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Sarmiento justly laments that his 
countn'men should have suffered this dialect, which might have proved 
so serviceable in their intercourse with the motley tribes of the empire, 
to fall so much out of use as it has done : " Y con tanto digo que fue 
harto beneficio para los Espaiioles haver esta lengua, pues podian con 
ella andar por todas partes en algunas de las quales ya se va perdi- 
endo." Relacion, MS., cap. 21. — According to Velasco, the Incas, on 
arriving with their conquering legions at Quito, were astonished to find 
a dialect of the Quichua spoken there, although it was unknown over 
much of the intermediate country ; a singular fact, if true. (Hist, de 
Quito, torn. i. p. 185.) The author, a native of that country, had 
access to some rare sources of information ; and his curious volumes 
show an intimate analogy between the science and social institutions 
of the people of Quito and Peru. Yet his book betrays an obvious 
anxiety to set the pretensions of his own country in the most imposing 
point of view, and he frequently hazards assertions with a confidence 
that is not well calculated to secure that of his readers. 

»o Garcilasso, Com. Real., ubi supra. 

* [Dr. Vincente Lopez speaks of two specimens of this dramatic 
literature, preserved, in an altered form, by Spanish tradition, — the 
Apu-OIlantay and the Uska-Paukar. The latter, he says, contains 



unformed people. But, whatever may have been the 
execution, the mere conception of such an amusement 
is a proof of refinement that honorably distinguishes 
the Peruvian from the other American races, whose 
pastime was war, or the ferocious sports that reflect the 
image of it. 

The intellectual character of the Peruvians, indeed, 
seems to have been marked rather by a tendency to 
refinement than by those hardier qualities which insure 
success in the severer walks of science. In these they 
were behind several of the semi-civilized nations of 
the New World. They had some acquaintance with 
geography, so far as related to their own empire, which 
was indeed extensive ; and they constructed maps with 
lines raised on them to denote the boundaries and lo- 
calities, on a similar principle with those formerly used 
by the blind. In astronomy they appear to have made 
but moderate proficiency. They divided the year into 
twelve lunar months, each of which, having its own 
name, was distinguished by its appropriate festival." 
They had, also, weeks, but of what length, whether of 
seven, nine, or ten days, is uncertain. As their lunar 

'I Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Fernandez, who differs from most 
authorities in dating the commencement of the year from June, gives 
the names of the several months, with their appropriate occupations. 
Hist, del Peru, Parte 2, lib. 3, cap. 10. 

entire roles which are evidently of Spanish and Catholic origin. To 
the former he is inclined to ascribe a greater degree of genuineness ; 
though its authenticity has been altogether denied, and its composition 
ascribed to Dr. Valdez. (Les Races aryennes du Perou, pp. 325- 
329.) An English translation of it has been published by Mr. Mark- 
ham, under the title of " Ollanta, an Ancient Ynca Drama (London, 
1871).— Ed.] 


year would necessarily fall short of the true time, they 
rectified their calendar by solar observations made by 
means of a number of cylindrical columns raised on the 
high lands round Cuzco, which served them for taking 
azimuths ; and by measuring their shadows they ascer- 
tained the exact times of the solstices. The period of 
the equinoxes they determined by the help of a solitary 
pillar, or gnomon, placed in the centre of a circle, 
which was described in the area of the great temple 
and traversed by a diameter that was drawn from east 
to west. When the shadows were scarcely visible under 
the noontide rays of the sun, they said that " the god 
sat with all his light upon the column."" Quito, 
which lay immediately under the equator, where the 
vertical rays of the sun threw no shadow at noon, was 
held in especial veneration as the favored abode of the 
great deity. The period of the equinoxes was cele- 
brated by public rejoicings. The pillar was crowned 
by the golden chair of the Sun, and both then and at 
the solstices the columns were hung with garlands, and 
offerings of flowers and fruits were made, while high 
festival was kept throughout the empire. By these pe- 
riods the Peruvians regulated their religious rites and 
ceremonial and prescribed the nature of their agricul- 
tural labors. The year itself took its departure from 
the date of the winter solstice. '^ 

" Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 22-26. — The Spanish 
conquerors threw down these pillars, as savoring of idolatry in the 
Indians. Which of the two were best entitled to the name of bar- 
barians ? 

»3 Betanzos, Kar. de los Ingas, MS., cap. 16.— Sarmiento, Relacion, 
MS., cap. 23. — Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 3. — The most celebrated gnomon 
In Europe, that raised on the dome of the metropolitan church of 



This meagre account embraces nearly all that has 
come down to us of Peruvian astronomy. It may seem 
strange that a nation which had proceeded thus far in 
its observations should have gone no farther, and that, 
notwithstanding its general advance in civilization, it 
should in this science have fallen so far short not only 
of the Mexicans, but of the Muyscas, inhabiting the 
same elevated regions of the great southern plateau 
with themselves. These latter regulated their calendar 
on the same general plan of cycles and periodical 
series as the Aztecs, approaching yet nearer to the sys- 
tem pursued by the people of Asia. '^ 

It might have been expected that the Incas, the 
boasted children of the Sun, would have made a par- 
ticular study of the phenomena of the heavens and 
have constructed a calendar on principles as scientific 
as that of their semi-civilized neighbors. One histo- 
rian, indeed, assures us that they threw their years into 
cycles of ten, a hundred, and a thousand years, and 
that by these cycles they regulated their chronology. '^ 

Florence, was erected by the famous Toscanelli — for the purpose of 
determining the solstices, and regulating the festivals of the Church — 
about the year 1468 ; perhaps at no very distant date from that of the 
similar astronomical contrivance of the American Indian. See Tira- 
boschi, Historia della Letteratura Italiana, torn. vi. lib. 2, cap. 2, sec. 38. 

'♦ A tolerably meagre account — yet as full, probably, as authorities 
could warrant — of this interesting people has been given by Piedrahita. 
Bishop of Panamd, in the first two Books of his Historia general de 
las Conquistas del nuevo Regno de Granada (Madrid, 1688). — M. de 
Humboldt v/as fortunate in obtaining a MS., composed by a Spanish 
ecclesiastic resident in Santa Fe de Bogotd, in relation to the Muysca 
calendar, of which the Prussian philosopher has given a large and 
luminous analysis. Vues des Cordilleres, p. 244. 

«S Montesinos, Mem. antiguas, MS., lib. 2, cap. 7. — " Renov6 la 



But this assertion — not improbable in itself — rests on 
a writer but little gifted with the spirit of criticism, 
and is counterbalanced by the silence of every higher 
and earlier authority, as well as by the absence of any 
monument, like those found among other American 
nations, to attest the existence of such a calendar. 
The inferiority of the Peruvians may be, perhaps, in 
part explained by the fact of their priesthood being 
drawn exclusively from the body of the Incas, a privi- 
leged order of nobility, who had no need, by the as- 
sumption of superior learning, to fence themselves 
round from the approaches of the vulgar. The little 
true science possessed by the Aztec priest supplied him 
with a key to unlock the mysteries of the heavens, and 
the false system of astrology which he built upon it 
gave him credit as a being who had something of di- 
vinity in his own nature. But the Inca noble was 
divine by birth. The illusory study of astrology, so 
captivating to the unenlightened mind, engaged no 
share of his attention. 'The only persons in Peru who 
claimed the power of reading the mysterious future 
were the diviners, men who, combining with their 
pretensions some skill in the healing art, resembled 
the conjurers found among many of the Indian tribes. 
But the office was held in little repute, except among 
the lower classes, and was abandoned to those whose 

computacion de los tiempos, que se iba perdiendo, y se contaron en 
su Reynado los aiios por 365 dias y seis horas ; d los arios afiadio de- 
cadas de diez anos, i. cada diez decadas una centuria de 100 afios, yi 
cada diez centurias una capachoata 6 Jutiphuacan, que son 1000 aiios, 
que quiere decir el grande aiio del Sol ; asi contaban los siglos y los 
sucesos nrjemorables de sus Reyes." Ibid., loc. cit. 



age and infirmity disqualified them for the real business 
of life/* 

The Peruvians had knowledge of one or two con- 
stellations, and watched the motions of the planet 
Venus, to which, as we have seen, they dedicated al- 
tars. But their ignorance of the first principles of 
astronomical science is shown by their ideas of eclipses, 
which they supposed denoted some great derangement 
of the planet ; and when the moon labored under one 
of these mysterious infirmities they sounded their in- 
struments, and filled the air with shouts and lamenta- 
tions, to rouse her from her lethargy. Such puerile 
conceits as these form a striking contrast with the real 
knowledge of the Mexicans, as displayed in their 
hieroglyphical maps, in which the true cause of this 
phenomenon is plainly depicted. '^ 

But, if less successful in exploring the heavens, the 
Incas must be admitted to have surpassed every other 
American race in their dominion over the earth. Hus- 
bandry was pursued by them on principles that may be 
truly called scientific. It was the basis of their polit- 
ical institutions. Having no foreign commerce, it was 
agriculture that furnished them with the means of their 
internal exchanges, their subsistence, and their reve- 
nues. We have seen their remarkable provisions for 

•* " Ansi mismo les hicieron senalar gente para hechizeros que tam- 
bien es entre ellos, oficio publico y conoscido en todos, . . . los dipu- 
tados para ello no lo tenian per travajo, por que ninguno podia tener 
semejante oficio como los dichos sino fuesen viejos e viejas, y personas 
inaviles para travajar, como mancos, cojos 6 contrechos, y gente asi d 
quien faltava las fuerzas para ello." Ondegardo, Rel. Sag., MS. 

»7 See Codex Tel.-Remensis, Part 4, PI. 22, ap. Antiquities of Mex. 
ico, vol. i., London, 1829. 

Peru. — Vol. I. 12 


distributing the land in equal shares among the people, 
while they required every man, except the privileged 
orders, to assist in its cultivation. The Inca himself 
did not disdain to set the example. On one of the 
great annual festivals he proceeded to the environs 
of Cuzco, attended by his court, and, in the presence 
of all the people, turned up the earth with a golden 
plough, — or an instrument that served as such, — thus 
consecrating the occupation of the husbandman as one 
worthy to be followed by the Children of the Sun.'' 

The patronage of the government did not stop with 
this cheap display of royal condescension, but was 
shown in the most efficient measures for facilitating 
the labors of the husbandman. Much of the country 
along the sea-coast suffered from want of water, as little 
or no rain fell there, and the few streams, in their short 
and hurried course from the mountains, exerted only a 
very limited influence on the wide extent of territory. 
The soil, it is true, was for the most part sandy and 
sterile ; but many places were capable of being re- 
claimed, and, indeed, needed only to be properly irri- 
gated to be susceptible of extraordinary production. 
To these spots water was conveyed by means of canals 
and subterraneous aqueducts executed on a noble scale. 

»8 Sarmiento, Relacion. MS., cap. i6. — The nobles, also it seems, 
at this high festival, imitated the example of their master. '• Pasadas 
todas las fiestas, en la ultima llevavan muchos arados de manos, los 
quales antiguamente heran de oro ; i ^chos los oficios, tomava el Inga 
un arado i comenzava con el a romper la tierra, i lo mismo los demas 
senores, para que de alii adelante en todo su sefiorio hiciesen lo mismo, 
i sin que el Inga hiciese esto no avia Indio que osase romper la tierra, 
ni pensavan que produjese si el Inga no la rompia,primero i esto vaste 
quanto d las fiestas." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 


They consisted of large slabs of freestone nicely fitted 
together without cement, and discharged a volume of 
water sufiicient, by means of latent ducts or sluices, to 
moisten the lands in the lower level, through which 
they passed. Some of these aqueducts were of great 
length. One that traversed the district of Condesuyu 
measured between four and five hundred miles. They 
were brought from some elevated lake or natural reser- 
voir in the heart of the mountains, and were fed at 
intervals by other basins which lay in their route along 
the slopes of the sierra. In this descent a passage was 
sometimes to be opened through rocks, — and this with- 
out the aid of iron tools ; impracticable mountains were 
to be turned, rivers and marshes to be crossed; in short, 
the same obstacles were to be encountered as in the 
construction of their mighty roads. But the Peruvians 
seemed to take pleasure in wrestling with the difficulties 
of nature. Near Caxamarca a tunnel is still visible 
which they excavated in the mountains to give an outlet 
•to the waters of a lake when these rose to a height in 
the rainy seasons that threatened the country with 

Most of these beneficent works of the Incas were 
suffered to go to decay by their Spanish conquerors. 

»9 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 21. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., 
Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 24. — Stevenson, Narrative of a Twenty Years' 
Residence in South America (London, 1829), vol. i. p. 412; ii. pp. 
173, 174. — " Sacauan acequias en cabos y por partes que es cosa 
estrana afirmar lo : porque las echauan por lugares altos y baxos : y 
por laderas de los cabegos'y haldas de sierras q estan en los valles : y 
por ellos mismos atrauiessan muchas : unas por una parte, y otras por 
otra, que es gran delectacio caminar por aquellos valles : porque 
parece que se anda entre huertas y florestas Uenas de frescuras." 
Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 66. 


In some spots tlae waters are still left to flow in their 
silent, subterraneous channels, whose windings and 
whose sources have been alike unexplored. Others, 
though partially dilapidated, and closed up with rub- 
bish and the rank vegetation of the soil, still betray 
their course by occasional patches of fertility. Such 
are the remains in the valley of Nasca, a fruitful spot 
that lies between long tracts of desert; where the 
ancient water-courses of the Incas, measuring four or 
five feet in depth by three in width, and formed of 
large blocks of uncemented masonry, are conducted 
from an unknown distance. 

The great^t care was taken that every occupant of 
the land through w^liich these streams passed should 
enjoy the benefit of them. The quantity of water 
allotted to each was prescribed by law ; and royal over- 
seers superintended the distribution and saw that it was 
faithfully applied to the irrigation of the ground. "^ 

The Peruvians showed a similar spirit of enterprise 
in their schemes for introducing cultivation into the, 
mountainous parts of their domain. Many of the hills, 
though covered with a strong soil, were too precipitous 
to be tilled. These they cut into terraces, faced with 
rough stone, diminishing in regular gradation towards 
the summit; so that, while the lower strip, or anden, as 
it was called by the Spaniards, that belted round the 
base of the mountain, might comprehend hundreds of 
acres, the uppermost was only large enough to accom- 
modate a few rows of Indian corn." Some of the 

2° Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Memoirs of Gen. Miller, 
vol. ii. p. 220. 
" Miller supposes that it was from these andenes that the Spaniards 



eminences presented such a mass of solid rock that 
after being hewn into terraces they were obliged to be 
covered deep with earth before they could serve the 
purpose of the husbandman. With such patient toil 
did the Peruvians combat the formidable obstacles 
presented by the face of their country ! Without the 
use of the tools or the machinery familiar to the Euro- 
pean, each individual could have done little; but acting 
in large masses, and under a common direction, they 
were enabled by indefatigable perseverance to achieve 
results to have attempted which might have filled even 
the European with dismay." 

In the same spirit of economical husbandry which 
redeemed the rocky sierra from the curse of sterility, 
they dug below the arid soil of the valleys and sought 
for a stratum where some natural moisture might be 
found. These excavations, called by the Spaniards 
hoyas, or "pits," were made on a great scale, compre- 
hending frequently more than an acre, sunk to the 
depth of fifteen or twenty feet, and fenced round 
within by a wall of adobes, or bricks baked in the sun. 
The bottom of the excavation, well prepared by a rich 
manure of the sardines, — a small fish obtained in vast 

gave the name of Andes to the South American Cordilleras. (Memoirs 
of Gen. Miller, vol. ii. p. 219.) But the name is older than the Con- 
quest, according to Garcilasso, who traces it to Anii, the name of a 
province that lay east of Cuzco. (Com. Real., Parte I, lib. 2, cap. 
II.) Anta, the word for copper, which was found abundant in certain 
quarters of the country, may have suggested the name of the province, 
if not immediately that of the mountains. 

^ Memoirs of Gen. Miller, ubi supra.— Garcilasso, Com. Real., 
Parte i, lib. 5, cap. i. 




quantities along the coast, — was planted with some 
kind of grain or vegetable.'^ 

The Peruvian farmers were well acquainted with the 
different kinds of manures, and made large use of 
them ; a circumstance rare in the rich lands of the 
tropics, and probably not elsewhere practised by the 
rude tribes of America. They made great use oi guano, 
the valuable deposit of sea-fowl, that has attracted so 
much attention of late from the agriculturists both of 
Europe and of our own country, and the stimulating 
and nutritious properties of which the Indians perfectly 
appreciated. This was found in such immense quan- 
tities on many of the little islands along the coast as 
to have the appearance of lofty hills, which, covered 
with a white saline incrustation, led the Conquerors to 
give them the name of the sierra nevada, or "snowy 

The Incas took their usual precautions for securing 
the benefits of this important article to the husband- 
man. They assigned the small islands on the coast to 
the use of the respective districts which lay adjacent 
to them. When the island was large, it was distributed 
among several districts, and the boundaries for each 
were clearly defined. All encroachment on the rights 
of another was severely punished. And they secured 
the preservation of the fowl by penalties as stern as 
those by which the Norman tyrants of England pro- 
tected their own game. No one was allowed to set 

"3 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 73. — The remains of these ancient 
excavations still excite the wonder of the modern traveller. See 
Stevenson, Residence in South America, vol. i. p. 359. — Also Mc- 
Culloh, Researches, p. 358. 



foot on the island during the season for breeding, 
under pain of death; and to kill the birds at any time 
was punished in the like manner.** 

With this advancement in agricultural science, the 
Peruvians might be supposed to have had some knowl- 
edge of the plough, in such general use among the 
primitive nations of the Eastern continent. But they 
had neither the iron ploughshare of the Old World, 
nor had they animals for draught, which, indeed, were 
nowhere found in the New. The instrument which 
they used was a strong, sharp-pointed stake, traversed 
by a horizontal piece, ten or twelve inches from the 
point, on which the ploughman might set his foot and 
force it into the ground. Six or eight strong men 
were attached by ropes to the stake, and dragged it 
forcibly along, — pulling together, and keeping time as 
they moved by chanting their national songs, in which 
they were accompanied by the women who followed in 
their train, to break up the sods with their rakes. The 
mellow soil offered slight resistance ; and the laborer, 
by long practice, acquired a dexterity which enabled 
him to turn up the ground to the requisite depth with 
astonishing facility. This substitute for the plough 
was but a clumsy contrivance; yet it is curious as 
the only specimen of the kind among the American 
aborigines, and was perhaps not much inferior to the 
wooden instrument introduced in its stead by the 
European conquerors. ^^ 

It was frequently the policy of the Incas, after pro- 

»* Acosta, lib. 4, cap. 36. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 5 
cap. 3. 

»S Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. $, cap. 2, 


viding a deserted tract with the means for irrigation 
and thus fitting it for the labors of the husbandman, to 
transplant there a colony of mitunaes, who brought it 
under cultivation by raising the crops best suited to 
the soil. While the peculiar character and capacity 
of the lands were thus consulted, a means of exchange 
of the different products was afforded to the neighbor- 
ing provinces, which, from the formation of the coun- 
try, varied much more than usual within the same 
limits. To facilitate these agricultural exchanges, fairs 
were instituted, which took place three times a month 
in some of the most populous places, where, as money 
was unknown, a rude kind of commerce was kept up 
by the barter of their respective products. These fairs 
afforded so many holidays for the relaxation of the 
industrious laborer.^ 

Such were the expedients adopted by the Incas for 
the improvement of their territory; and, although im- 
perfect, they must be allowed to show an acquaintance 
with the principles of agricultural science that gives 
them some claim to the rank of a civilized people. 
Under their patient and discriminating culture, every 
inch of good soil was tasked to its greatest power of 
production ; while the most unpromising spots were 
compelled to contribute something to the subsistence 
of the people. Everywhere the land teemed with evi- 
dence of agricultural wealth, from the smiling valleys 
along the coast to the terraced steeps of the sierra, 
which, rising into pyramids of verdure, glowed with 
all the splendors of tropical vegetation. 

=* Sarmiento, Rel., MS., cap. 19. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, 
ib. 6, cap. 36; lib. 7, cap. i. — Herrera, Hist, gen., dec. 5, lib. 4, cap. "3. 


The formation of the country was particularly favor- 
able, as already remarked, to an infinite variety of prod- 
ucts, not so much from its extent as from its various 
elevations, which, more remarkable even than those in 
Mexico, comprehend every degree of latitude from the 
equator to the polar regions. Yet, though the tem- 
perature changes in this region with the degree of ele- 
vation, it remains nearly the same in the same spots 
throughout the year; and the inhabitant feels none of 
those grateful vicissitudes of season which belong to 
the temperate latitudes of the globe. Thus, while the 
summer lies in full power on the burning regions of 
the palm and the cocoa-tree that fringe the borders of 
the ocean, the broad surface of the table-land blooms 
with the freshness of perpetual spring, and the higher 
summits of the Cordilleras are white with everlasting 

The Peruvians turned this fixed variety of climate, 
if I may so say, to the best account, by cultivating the 
productions appropriate to each ; and they particularly 
directed their attention to those which afforded the 
most nutriment to man. Thus, in the lower level were 
to be found the cassava-tree and the banana, that 
bountiful plant, which seems to have relieved man 
from the primeval curse — if it were not rather a bless- 
ing — of toiling for his sustenance. ""' As the banana 

'^ The prolific properties of the banana are shown by M. de Hum- 
boldt, who states that its productiveness, as compared with that of 
whsat, is as 133 to i, and with that of the potato, as 44 to 1. (Essai 
politique sur le Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne, Paris, 1827, torn. 
ii. p. 389.) It is a mistake to suppose that this plant was not in- 
digenous to South America. The banana-leaf has been frequently 
found in ancient Peruvian tombs. 


faded from the landscape, a good substitute was found 
in the maize, the great agricultural staple of both the 
northern and southern divisions of the American con- 
tinent, and which, after its exportation to the Old 
World, spread so rapidly there as to suggest the idea 
of its being indigenous to it.^ The Peruvians were 
well acquainted with the different modes of preparing 
this useful vegetable, though it seems they did not use 
it for bread, except at festivals ; and they extracted a 
sort of honey from the stalk, and made an intoxicating 
liquor from the fermented grain, to which, like the 
Aztecs, they were immoderately addicted.*' 

The temperate climate of the table-land furnished 
them with the maguey, agave Americaiia, many of the 
extraordinary qualities of which they comprehended, 
though not its most important one of affording a ma- 
terial for paper. Tobacco, too, was among the prod- 
ucts of this elevated region. Yet the Peruvians dif- 
fered from every other Indian nation to whom it was 
known, by using it only for medicinal purposes, in the 
form of snuff. ^^ They may have found a substitute for 

=* The misnomer of ble de TurquU shows the popular error. Yet 
the rapidity of its diffusion through Europe and Asia after the dis- 
covery of America is of itself sufficient to show that it could not have 
been indigenous to the Old World and have so long remained gener- 
ally unknown there. 

»9 Acosta, lib. 4, cap. 16. — The saccharine matter contained in the 
maize-stalk is much greater in tropical countries than in more northern 
latitudes; so that the natives in the former maybe seen sometimes 
sucking it like the sugar-cane. One kind of the fermented liq-iors, 
iora, made from the corn, was of such strength that the use of it was 
forbidden by the Incas, at least to the common people. Their in- 
junctions do not seem to have been obeyed so implicitly in this 
instance as usual. 

30 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 2, cap. 25. 



its narcotic qualities in the coca (JErythroxylum Feru- 
vianiun), or cuca, as called by the natives. This is a 
shrub which grows to the height of a man. The leaves 
when gathered are dried in the sun, and, being mixed 
with a little lime, form a preparation for chewing, 
much like the betel-leaf of the East. 3' With a small 
supply of this cuca in his pouch, and a handful of 
roasted maize, the Peruvian Indian of our time per- 
forms his wearisome journeys, day after day, without 
fatigue, or, at least, without complaint. Even food 
the most invigorating is less grateful to him than his 
loved narcotic. Under the Incas, it is said to have 
been exclusively reserved for the noble orders. If so, 
the people gained one luxury by the Conquest ; and 
after that period it was so extensively used by them 
that this article constituted a most important item of 
the colonial revenue of Spain. ^^ Yet, with the sooth- 
ing charms of an opiate, this weed so much vaunted 
by the natives, when used to excess, is said to be at- 
tended with all the mischievous effects of habitual in- 
toxication. ^^ 

3' The pungent leaf of the heiel is in like manner mixed with lime 
when chewed. (Elphinstone, History of India, London, 1841, vol. i. 
p. 331.) The similarity of this social indulgence, in the remote East 
and West, is singular. 

33 Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — Acosta, lib. 4, cap. 22. — Stevenson, 
Residence in South America, vol. ii. p. 63. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, 
cap. 96. 

33 A traveller (Poeppig) noticed in the Foreign Quarterly Review 
(No. 33) expatiates on the malignant effects of the habitual use of the 
cuca, as very similar to those produced on the chewer of opium. 
Strange that such baneful properties should not be the subject of more 
frequent comment with other writers ! I do not remember to have 
seen them even adverted to. 



Higher up on the slopes of the Cordilleras, beyond 
the limits of the maize and of the quinoa, — a grain 
bearing some resemblance to rice, and largely culti- 
vated by the Indians, — was to be found the potato, the 
introduction of which into Europe has made an era 
in the history of agriculture. Whether indigenous to 
Peru, or imported from the neighboring country of 
Chili, it formed the great staple of the more elevated 
plains, under the Incas, and its culture was continued 
to a height in the equatorial regions which reached 
many thousand feet above the limits of perpetual snow 
in the temperate latitudes of Europe. ^^ Wild speci- 
mens of the vegetable might be seen still higher, 
springing up spontaneously amidst the stunted shrubs 
that clothed the lofty sides of the Cordilleras, till these 
gradually subsided into the mosses and the short yellow 
grdiss, pajonal, which, like a golden carpet, was unrolled 
around the base of the mighty cones, that rose far into 
the regions of eternal silence, covered with the snows 
of centuries. 25 

34 Malte-Brun, book 86. — The potato, found by the early discoverers 
in Chili, Peru, New Granada, and all along the Cordilleras of South 
America, was unknown in Mexico, — an additional proof of the entire 
ignorance in which the respective nations of the two continents re- 
mained of one another. M. de Humboldt, who has bestowed much 
attention on the early history of this vegetable, which has exerted so 
important an influence on European society, supposes that the cultiva- 
tion of it in Virginia, where it was known to the early planters, must 
have been originally derived from the Southern Spanish colonies. 
Essai politique, tom. ii. p. 462. 

35 While Peru, under the Incas, could boast these indigenous prod- 
ucts, and many others less familiar to the European, it was unac- 
quainted with several, of great importance, which, since the Conquest, 
have thriven there as on their natural soil. Such are the olive, the grape, 



the fig, the apple, the orange, the sugar-cane. None of the cereal 
grains of the Old World were found there. The first wheat was in- 
troduced by a Spanish lady of Truxillo, who took great pains to dis- 
seminate it among the colonists, of which the government, to its credit, 
was not unmindful. Her name was Maria de Escobar. History, which 
is so much occupied with celebrating the scourges of humanity, should 
take pleasure in commemorating one of its real benefactors. 

Peru. — Vol. I. — c 13 



A NATION which had made such progress in agricul- 
ture might be reasonably expected to have made also 
some proficiency in the mechanical arts, — especially 
when, as in the case of the Peruvians, their agricul- 
tural economy demanded in itself no inconsiderable 
degree of mechanical skill. Among most nations, 
progress in manufactures has been found to have an 
intimate connection with the progress of husbandry. 
Both arts are directed to the same great object of sup- 
plying the necessaries, the comforts, or, in a more re- 
fined condition of society, the luxuries, of life ; and 
when the one is brought to a perfection that infers a 
certain advance in civilization, the other must naturally 
find a corresponding development under the increasing 
demands and capacities of such a state. The subjects 
of the Incas, in their patient and tranquil devotion to 
the more humble occupations of industry which bound 
them to their native soil, bore greater resemblance to 
the Oriental nations, as the Hindoos and Chinese, than 
they bore to the members of the great Anglo-Saxon 
family, whose hardy temper has driven them to seek 
their fortunes on the stormy ocean and to open a com- 
merce with the most distant regions of the globe. The 


Peruvians, though lining a long extent of sea-coast, 
had no foreign commerce. 

They had peculiar advantages for domestic manufac- 
ture in a material incomparably superior to any thing 
possessed by the other races of the Western continent. 
They found a good substitute for linen in a fabric 
which, like the Aztecs, they knew how to weave from 
the tough thread of the maguey. Cotton grew luxu- 
riantly on the low, sultry level of the coast, and fur- 
nished them with a clothing suitable to the milder 
latitudes of the country. But from the llama and the 
kindred species of Peruvian sheep they obtained a 
fleece adapted to the colder climate of the table-land, 
"more estimable," to quote the language of a well- 
informed writer, "than the down of the Canadian 
l^eaver, the fleece of the brebis des Calmoucks, or of 
the Syrian goat." ' 

Of the four varieties of the Peruvian sheep, the 
llama, the one most familiarly known, is the least valu- 
able on account of its wool. It is chiefly employed as 
a beast of burden, for which, although it is sojnewhat 
larger than any of the other varieties, its diminutive 
size and strength would seem to disqualify it. It car- 
ries a load of little more than a hundred pounds, and 
cannot travel above three or four leagues in a day. 
But all this is compensated by the little care and cost 
required for its management and its maintenance. It 
picks up an easy subsistence from the moss and stunted 
herbage that grow scantily along the withered sides 

» Walton, Historical and Descriptive Account of the Peruvian Shf ep 
(London, 1811), p. 115. This writer's comparison is directed to the 
wool of the vicuna, the most esteemed of the genus for its fleece. 


and the steeps of the Cordilleras. The structure of 
its stomach, like that of the camel, is such as to enable 
it to dispense with any supply of water for weeks, nay, 
months together. Its spongy hoof, armed with a claw 
or pointed talon to enable it to take secure hold on the 
ice, never requires to be shod; and the load laid upon 
its back rests securely in its bed of wool, without the 
aid of girth or saddle. The llamas move in troops of' 
five hundred or even a thousand, and thus, though each 
individual carries but little, the aggregate is consider- 
able. The whole caravan travels on at its regular pace, 
passing the night in the open air without suffering 
from the coldest temperature, and marching in perfect 
order and in obedience to the voice of the driver. It 
is only when overloaded that the spirited little animal 
refuses to stir, and neither blows nor caresses can in- 
duce him to rise from the ground. He is as sturdy in 
asserting his riglits on this occasion as he is usually 
docile and unresisting.' 

The employment of domestic animals distinguished 
the Peruvians from the other races of the New World. 
This economy of human labor by the substitution of 
the brute is an important element of civilization, 
inferior only to what is gained by the substitution of 
machinery for both. Yet the ancient Peruvians seem 
to have made much less account of it than their 
Spanish conquerors, and to have valued the llama, in 

» Walton, Hist, and Descrip. Account of the Peruvian Sheep, p. 23, 
et seq. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 8, cap. 16. — Acosta, lib. 
4, cap. 41. — Llama, according to Garcilasso de la Vega, is a Peruvian 
word signifying " flock." (Ibid., ubi supra.) The natives got no milk 
from their domesticated animals ; nor was milk used, I believe, by 
any tribe on the American continent. 



common with the other animals of that genus, chiefly 
for its fleece. Immense herds of these "large cattle," 
as they were called, and of the "smaller cattle,"' 
or alpacas, were held by the government, as already 
noticed, and placed under the direction of shepherds, 
who conducted them from one quarter of the country 
to another, according to the changes of the season. 
These migrations were regulated with all the precision 
with which the code of the mesta determined the 
migrations of the vast merino flocks in Spain; and the 
Conquerors, when they landed in Peru, were amazed 
at finding a race of animals so similar to their own in 
properties and habits, and under the control of a system 
of legislation which might seem to have been imported 
from their native land.* 

But the richest store of wool was obtained, not from 
these domesticated animals, but from the two other 
species, the huanacos and the vicunas, which roamed 
in native freedom over the frozen ranges of the Coi- 
dilleras; where not unfrequently they might be seen 
scaling the snow-covered peaks w^hich no living thing 
inhabits save the condor, the huge bird of the Andes, 
whose broad pinions bear him up in the atmosphere to 
the height of more than twenty thousand feet above 
the level of the sea.^ In these rugged pastures, "the 

3 Ganado maior, ganado menor. 

* The judicious Ondegardo emphatically recommends the adoption 
of many of these regulations by the Spanish government, as pecu- 
liarly suited to the exigencies of the natives : " En esto de los ganados 
parescio haber hecho muchas constituciones en diferentes tiempos e 
algunas tan utiles e provechosas para su conservacion que convendria 
que tambien guardasen agora." Rel. Seg., MS. 

5 Malte-Brun, book 86. 


flock without a fold" finds sufficient sustenance in the 
ychii, a species of grass which is found scattered all 
along the great ridge of the Cordilleras, from the equa- 
tor to the southern limits of Patagonia. And as these 
limits define the territory traversed by the Peruvian 
sheep, which rarely, if ever, venture north of the line, 
it seems not improbable that this mysterious little plant 
is so important to their existence that the absence of 
it is the principal reason why they have not penetrated 
to the northern latitudes of Quito and New Granada.* 
But, although thus roaming without a master over 
the boundless wastes of the Cordilleras, the Peruvian 
peasant was never allowed to hunt these wild animals, 
which were protected by laws as severe as were the 
sleek herds that grazed on the more cultivated slopes 
of the plateau. The wild game of the forest and the 
mountain was as much the property of the government 
as if it had been enclosed within a park or penned 
within a fold.^ It was only on stated occasions, at the 
great hunts which took place once a year, under the 
personal superintendence of the Inca or his principal 
officers, that the game was allowed to be taken. 
These hunts were not repeated in the same quarter of 
the country oftener than once in four years, that time 
might be allowed for the waste occasioned by them to 
be replenished. At the appointed time, all those living 
in the district and its neighborhood, to the number, it 
might be, of fifty or sixty thousand men,^ were dis- 

6 Ychu, called in the Flora Peruana Jarava ; Class, Monandria 
Digynia. See Walton, p. 17. 

7 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 

8 Sometimes even a hundred thousand mustered, when the Inca 
hunted in person, if we may credit Sarmiento : " De donde haviendos« 



tributed round, so as to form a cordon of immense 
extent, that should embrace the whole country which 
was to be hunted over. The men were armed with 
long poles and spears, with which they beat up game 
of every description lurking in the woods, the valleys, 
and the mountains, killing the beasts of prey withoui 
mercy, and driving the others, consisting chiefly of the 
deer of the country, and the huanacos and vicunas, 
towards the centre of the wide-extended circle; until, 
as this gradually contracted, the timid inhabitants of 
the forests were concentrated on some spacious plain, 
where the eye of the hunter might range freely ovei 
his victims, who found no place for shelter or escape. 

The male deer and some of the coarser kind of the 
Peruvian sheep were slaughtered ; their skins were 
reserved for the various useful manufactures to which 
they are ordinarily applied, and their flesh, cut into 
thin slices, was distributed among the people, who 
converted it into cliarqui, the dried meat of the 
country, which constituted then the sole, as it has 
since the principal, animal food of the lower classes 
of Peru. 9 

But nearly the whole of the sheep, amounting usually 
to thirty or forty thousand, or even a larger number, 
after being carefully sheared, were suffered to escape 
and regain their solitary haunts among the mountains. 
The wool thus collected was deposited in the royal 

ya juntado cinquenta 6 sesenta mil Personas 6 cien mil si mandado 
les era." Relacion, MS., cap. 13. 

9 Ibid., -ubi supra. — Charqui; hence, probably, says McCulloh, the 
term "jerked," applied to the dried beef of South America. Re- 
searches, p. 377. 



magazines, whence, in due time, it was dealt out to the 
people. The coarser quality was worked up into gar- 
ments for their own use, and the finer for the Inca; for 
none but an Inca noble could wear the fine fabric of 
the vicuna.'" 

The Peruvians showed great skill in the manufacture 
of different articles for the royal household from this 
delicate material, which, under the name of vigonia 
wool, is now familiar to the looms of Europe. It was 
wrought into shawls, robes, and other articles of dress 
for the monarch, and into carpets, coverlets, and hang- 
ings for the imperial palaces and the temples. The 
cloth was finished on both sides alike;" the delicacy 
of the texture was such as to give it the lustre of siik., 
and the brilliancy of the dyes excited the admiration 
and the envy of the European artisan." The Peru- 
vians produced also an article of great strength and 
durability by mixing the hair of animals with wool; 
and they were expert in the beautiful feather-work, 
which they held of less account than the Mexicans, 
from the superior quality of the materials for other 
fabrics which they had at their command. '^ 

»° Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., loc. cit. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 
8i. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 6, cap. 6. 

" Acosta, lib. 4, cap. 41. 

" " Ropas finisimas para los Reyes, que lo eran tanto que parecian 
de sarga de seda y con colores tan perfectos quanto se puede afirmar." 
Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 13. 

»3 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — " Ropa finissima para lob 
senores Ingas de lana de las Vicunias. Y cierto fue tan prima esta 
ropa, como auran visto en Espafia: per alguna que alia fue luego que 
■e gano est: reyno. Los vestidos destos Ingas eran camisetas desta 
ropa : vnas oobladas de argenteria de oro, otras de esmeraldas y pie- 
dras preciosas : y algunas de plumas de aues : otras de solamente lit 



The natives showed a skill in other mechanical arts 
similar to that displayed by their manufactures of cloth. 
Every man in Peru was expected to be acquainted 
with the various handicrafts essential to domestic com- 
fort. No long apprenticeship was required for this, 
where the wants were so few as among the simple 
peasantry of the Incas. But, if this were all, it would 
imply but a very moderate advancement in the arts. 
There were certain individuals, however, carefully 
trained to those occupations which minister to the 
demands of the more opulent classes of society. These 
occupations, like every other calling and office in Peru, 
always descended from father to son."* The division 
of castes, in this particular, was as precise as that which 
existed in Egypt or Hindostan. If this arrangement 
be unfavorable to originality, or to the development 
of the peculiar talent of the individual, it at least 
conduces to an easy and finished execution, by famil- 
iarizing the artist with the practice of his art from 
childhood. '5 

The royal magazines and the huacas or tombs of the 
Incas have been found to contain many specimens of 
curious and elaborate workmanship. Among these are 
vases of gold and silver, bracelets, collars, and other 

manta. Para hazer estas ropas, tuuiero y tienen tan perfetas colores 
de carmesi, azul, amarillo, negro, y de otras suertes, que verdadera- 
mente tienen ventaja d las de Espana." Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cajj, 

'4 Ondegardo, Rel. Prim, et Seg., MSS.— Garcilasso, Com. Real. 
Parte i, lib. 5, cap. 7, 9, 13. 

'5 At least, such was the opinion of the Egyptians, who referred to 
this arrangement of castes as the source of their own peculiar dexterity 
in the arts. See Diodorus Sic, lib. i, sec. 74. 



ornaments for the person ; utensils of every descrip- 
tion, some of fine cla}', and many more of copper; 
mirrors of a hard, polished stone, or burnished silver, 
with a great variety of other articles made frequently 
on a whimsical pattern, evincing quite as much inge- 
nuity as taste or inventive talent.'* The character of 
the Peruvian mind led to imitation, in fact, rather than 
invention, to delicacy and minuteness of finish, rathei 
than to boldness or beauty of design. 

That they should have accomplished these difficult 
works with such tools as they possessed is truly won- 
derful. It was comparatively easy to cast and even to 
sculpture metallic substances, both of which they did 
with consummate skill. But that they should have 
shown the like facility in cutting the hardest sub- 
stances, as emeralds and other precious stones, is not 
so easy to explain. Emeralds they obtained in consid- 
erable quantity from the barren district of Atacames, 
and this inflexible material seems to have been almost 
as ductile in the hands of the Peruvian artist as if it 
had been made of clay.'^ Yet the natives were un- 

'6 Ulloa, Not. Amer., ent. 21. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., 
MS. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 114. — Condamine, Mem. ap. Hist 
de I'Acad. Royale de Berlin, torn. ii. pp. 454-456. — The last writer 
says that a large collection of massive gold ornaments of very rich 
workmanship was long preser^-ed in the royal treasury of Quito. But 
on his going there to examine them he learned that they had just 
been melted down into ingots to send to Carthagena, then besieged 
by the English ! The art of war can flourish only at the expense of 
all the other arts. 

'7 They had turquoises, also, and might have had pearls, but for the 
tenderness of the Incas, who were unwilling to risk the lives of their 
people in this perilous fishery I At least, so we are assured by Garci- 
lasso. Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 8, cap. 23. 


acquainted with the use of iron, though the soil was 
largely impregnated with it.'* The tools used were of 
stone, or more frequently of copper. But the material 
on which they relied for the execution of their most 
difficult tasks was formed by combining a very small 
portio 1 of tin with copper.'' This composition gave 
a hardness to the metal which seems to have been little 
inferior to that of steel. With the aid of it, not only 
did the Peruvian artisan hew into shape porphyry and 
granite, but by his patient industry accomplished 
works which the European would not have ventured to 
undertake. Among the remains of the monuments of 
Cannar may be seen movable rings in the muzzles of 
animals, all nicely sculptured of one entire block of 
granite.^" It is worthy of remark that the Egyptians, 
the Mexicans, and the Peruvians, in their progress 
towards civilization, should never have detected the 
use of iron, which lay around them in abundance, and 
that they should each, without any knowledge of the 
other, have found a substitute for it in such a curious 
composition of metals as gave to their tools almost the 
temper of steel;" a secret that has been lost— or, to 

»8 " No tenian herramientas de hierro ni azero." Ondegardo, Rel. 
Seg., MS. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 4, cap. 4. 

'9 M. de Humboldt brought with him back to Europe one of these 
metallic tools, a chisel, found in a silver-mine opened by the Incas 
not far from Cuzco. On an analysis, it was found to contain 0.94 of 
copper and 0.06 of tin. See Vues des Cordilleres, p. 117. 

*° " Quoiqu'il en soit," says M. de la Condamine, "nous avons vu 
en quelques autres ruines des ornemens du meme granit, qui repre- 
senloient des mufles d'animaux, dont les narines percees portoient de? 
anneaux mobiles de la meme pierre." Mem. ap. Hist, de I'Acad 
Royale de Berlin, torn. ii. p. 452. 

" See the History of the Conquest of Mexico, Book i, chap, 5. 


speak more correctly, has never been discovered — ^by 
the civilized European. 

I have already spoken of the large quantity of gold 
and silver wrought into various articles of elegance and 
utility for the Incas; though the amount was incon- 
siderable, in comparison with what could have been 
afforded by the mineral riches of the land, and with 
what has since been obtained by the more sagacious 
and unscrupulous cupidity of the white man. Gold 
was gathered by the Incas from the deposits of the 
streams. They extracted the ore also in considerable 
quantities from the valley of Curimayo, northeast of 
Caxamarca, as well as from other places; and the 
silver-mines of Porco, in particular, yielded them con- 
siderable returns. Yet they did not attempt to pene- 
trate into the bowels of the earth by sinking a shaft, 
but simply excavated a cavern in the steep sides of the 
mountain, or, at most, opened a horizontal vein of 
moderate depth. They were equally deficient in the 
knowledge of the best means of detaching the precious 
metal from the dross with which it was united, and 
had no idea of the virtues of quicksilver — a mineral 
not rare in Peru — as an amalgam to effect this decom- 
position." Their method of smelting the ore was by 
means of furnaces built in elevated and exposed situa- 
tions, where they might be fanned by the strong breezes 
of the mountains. The subjects of the Incas, in short, 
with all their patient perseverance, did little more than 
penetrate below the crust, the outer rind, as it were, 
formed over those golden caverns which lie hidden in 
the dark depths of the Andes. Yet what they gleaned 

" Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 8, cap. 25. 



from the surface was more than adequate for all their 
demands. For they were not a commercial people, 
and had no knowledge of money. '^ Jn this they dif- 
fered from the ancient Mexicans, who had an estab- 
lished currency of a determinate value. In one respect, 
however, they were superior to their American rivals, 
since they made use of weights to determine the quan- 
tity of their commodities, a thing wholly unknown to 
the Aztecs. This fact is ascertained by the discovery 
of silver balances, adjusted with perfect accuracy, in 
some of the tombs of the Incas.="* 

But the surest test of the civilization of a people — 
at least, as sure as any — afforded by mechanical art is 
to be found in their architecture, which presents so 
noble a field for the display of the grand and the beau- 
tiful, and which at the same time is so intimately con- 
nected with the essential comforts of life. There is no 
object on which the resources of the wealthy are more 
freely lavished, or which calls out more effectually the 
inventive talent of the artist. The painter and the 
sculptor may display their individual genius in crea- 
tions of surpassing excellence, but it is the great monu- 
ments of architectural taste and magnificence that are 
stamped in a peculiar manner by the genius of the 
nation. The Greek, the Egyptian, the Saracen, the 
Gothic, — what a key do their respective styles afford 

=3 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 5, cap. 7; lib. 6, cap. 8. — 
Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — This, which Bonaparte thought so in- 
credible of the little island of Loo Choo, was still more extraordinary 
in a great and flourishing empire like Peru, — the country, too, which 
contained within its bowels the treasures that were one day to furnish 
Europe with the basis of its vast metallic currency. 

»4 Ulloa, Not. Amer., ent. 21. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — 14 


to the character and condition of the people ! The 
monuments of China, of Hindostan, and of Central 
America are all indicative of an immature period, in 
which the imagination has not been disciplined by 
study, and which, therefore, in its best results, betrays 
only the ill-regulated aspirations after the beautiful, 
that belong to a semi-civilized people. 

The Peruvian architecture, bearing also the general 
characteristics of an imperfect state of refinement, had 
still its peculiar character; and so uniform was that 
character that the edifices throughout the country seem 
to have been all cast in the same mould. '^ They were 
usually built of porphyry or granite; not unfrequently 
of brick. This, which was formed into blocks or 
squares of much larger dimensions than our brick, was 
made of a tenacious earth mixed up with reeds or tough 
grass, and acquired a degree of hardness with age that 
made it insensible alike to the storms and the more 
trying sun of the tropics.** The walls were of great 
thickness, but low, seldom reaching to more than 
twelve or fourteen feet in height. It is rare to meet 
with accounts of a building that rose to a second story,'' 

»S It is the observation of Humboldt. " II est impossible d'exami- 
ner attentivement un seul edifice du temps des Incas, sans reconnoitre 
le meme type dans tous les autres qui couvrent le dos des Andes, sur 
une longueur de plus de quatre cent cinquante lieues, depuis mille 
jusqu'k quatre mille metres d'elevation au-dessus du niveau de 
rOcean. On dirait qu'un seul architecte a construit ce grand nombre 
de monumens." Vues des Cordill^res, p. 197. 

=* Ulloa, who carefully examined these bricks, suggests that there 
must have been some secret in their composition, — so superior in 
many respects to our own manufacture, — now lost. Not. Amer., ent 

1 Ibid., ubi supra. 



The apartments had no communication with one 
another, but usually opened into a court; and, as they 
were unprovided with windows, or apertures that served 
for them,* the only light from without must have been 
admitted by the doorways. These were made with 
the sides approaching each other towards the top, so 
that the lintel was considerably narrower than the 
threshold, a peculiarity, also, in Egyptian architecture. 
The roofs have, for the most part, disappeared with 
time. Some few survive in the less ambitious edifices, 
of a singular bell-shape, and made of a composition 
of earth and pebbles. They are supposed, however, 
to have been generally formed of more perishable ma- 
terials, of wood or straw. It is certain that some of 
the most considerable stone buildings were thatched 
with straw. Many seem to have been constructed 
without the aid of cement; and writers have contended 
that the Peruvians were unacquainted with the use of 
mortar, or cement of any kind.''' But a close, tena- 
cious mould, mixed with lime, may be discovered filling 
up the interstices of the granite in some buildings; and 
in others, where the well-fitted blocks leave no room 
for this coarser material, the eye of the antiquary has 

^ Among others, see Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 15. — Robertson, History 
of America (London, 1796), vol. iii. p. 213. 

* [According to Mr. Markham.the palaces of the Incas "had small 
square windows, and deep recesses of the same size, at intervals ;" 
and he adds, " It has been stated that the ancient Peruvian buildings 
had no windows. This is a mistake. Amongst other instances, I may 
mention the occurrence of one in the palace of the Colcampata, at 
Cuzco." Cieza de Leon, Eng. trans.. Introduction, p. xxix. See also 
Rivero, Antiquities of Peru, p. 233. — Ed.] 


detected a fine bituminous glue, as hard as the rock 

The greatest simplicity is observed in the construc- 
tion of the buildings, which are usually free from out- 
ward ornament; though in some the huge stones are 
shaped into a convex form with great regularity, and 
adjusted with such nice precision to one another that 
it would be impossible, but for the flutings, to deter- 
mine the line of junction. In others the stone is 
rough, as it was taken from the quarry, in the most 
irregular forms, with the edges nicely wrought and 
fitted to each other. There is no appearance of col- 
umns or of arches; though there is some contradiction 
as to the latter point. But it is not to be doubted 
that, although they may have made some approach to 
this mode of construction by the greater or less incli- 
nation of the walls, the Peruvian architects were wholly 
unacquainted with the true principle of the circular 
arch reposing on its key-stone.^ 

=9 Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — Ulloa, Not. Amer., ent. 21. — Hum- 
boldt, who analyzed the cement of the ancient structures at Cannar, 
says that it is a true mortar, formed of a mixture of pebbles and a 
clayey marl. (Vues des Cordilleres, p. 116.) Father Velasco is in 
raptures with an " almost imperceptible kind of cement" made of 
lime and a bituminous substance resembling glue, which incorporated 
with the stones so as to hold them firmly together like one solid mass, 
yet left nothing visible to the eye of the common observer. This 
glutinous composition, mixed with pebbles, made a sort of macadam- 
ized road much used by the Incas, as hard and almost as smooth as 
marble. Hist, de Quito, tom. i. pp. 126-128. 

30 Condamine, Mem. ap. Hist, de I'Acad. Royale de Berlin, tom. 
ii. p. 448. — Antig. y Monumentos del Peru, MS. — Herrera, Hist, ge- 
neral, dec. s, lib. 4, cap. 4. — Acosta, lib. 6, cap. 14. — Ulloa, Voyage 
lo South America, vol. i. p. 469. — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. 


The architecture of the Incas is characterized, says 
an eminent traveller, "by simplicity, symmetry, and 
solidity."^' It may seem unphilosophical to condemn 
the peculiar fashion of a nation as indicating want of 
taste, because its standard of taste differs from our 
own. Yet there is an incongruity in the composition 
of the Peruvian buildings which argues a very imperfect 
acquaintance with the first principles of architecture. 
While they put together their bulky masses of porphyry 
and granite with the nicest art, they were incapable of 
mortising their timbers, and, in their ignorance of iron, 
knew no better way of holding the beams together than 
tying them with thongs of maguey. In the same in- 
congruous spirit, the building that was thatched with 
straw and unilluminated by a window was glowing with 
tapestries of gold and silver ! These are the inconsist- 
encies of a rude people, among whoni the arts are but 
partially developed. It might not be difficult to find 
examples of like inconsistency in the architecture and 
domestic arrangements of our Anglo-Saxon and, at a 
still later period, of our Norman ancestors. 

Yet the buildings of the Incas were accommodated 
to the character of the climate, and were well fitted to 
resist those terrible convulsions which belong to the 
land of volcanoes. The wisdom of their plan is attested 
by the number which still survive, while the more mod- 
ern constructions of the Conquerors have been buried 
in ruins. The hand of the Conquerors, indeed, has 
fallen heavily on these venerable monuments, and, in 

3' " Simplicite, symetrie, et solidite, voilk les trois caract&res par 
lesquels se distinguent avantageusement tous les Edifices peruviens." 
Humboldt, Vues des Cordill^res, p. 115. 


their blind and superstitious search for hidden treasure, 
has caused infinitely more ruin than time or the earth- 
quake. ^^ Yet enough of these monuments still remain 
to invite the researches of the antiquary. Those only 
in the most conspicuous situations have been hitherto 
examined. But, by the testimony of travellers, many 
more are to be found in the less frequented parts of the 
country; and we may hope they will one day call forth 
a kindred spirit of enterprise to that which has so suc- 

3» The anonymous author of the Antig. y Monumentos del Peru, 
MS., gives us, at second hand, one of those golden traditions which, 
in early times, fostered the spirit of adventure. The tradition, in this 
instance, he thinks well entitled to credit. The reader will judge for 

" It is a well-authenticated report, and generally received, that there 
is a secret hall in the fortress of Cuzco, where an immense treasure is 
concealed, consisting of the statues of all the Incas, wrought in gold. 
A lady is still living, Doila Maria de Esquivel, the wife of the last 
Inca, who has visited this hall, and I have heard her relate the way ia 
which she was carried to see it. 

" Don Carlos, the lady's husband, did not maintain a style of living 
becoming his high rank. Doiia Maria sometimes reproached him, 
declaring that she had been deceived into marrying a poor Indian 
under the lofty title of Lord or Inca. She said this so frequently that 
Don Carlos one night exclaimed, ' Lady ! do you wish to know 
whether I am rich or poor? You shall see that no lord nor king in 
the world has a larger treasure than I have.' Then, covering her eyes 
with a handkerchief, he made her turn round two or three times, and, 
taking her by the hand, led her a short distance before he removed 
the bandage. On opening her eyes, what was her amazement ! She 
had gone not more than two hundred paces, and descended a short 
flight of steps, and she now found herself in a large quadrangular 
hall, where, ranged on benches round the walls, she beheld the 
statues of the Incas, each of the size of a boy twelve years old, all of 
massive gold ! She saw also many vessels of gold and silver. ' In 
fact,' she said, ' it was one of the most magnificent treasures in tlie 
whole world .' " 


cessfully explored the mysterious recesses of Central 
America and Yucatan.* 

I cannot close this analysis of the Peruvian institu- 
tions without a few reflections on their general character 
and tendency, which, if they involve some repetition 
of previous remarks, may, I trust, be excused, from my 
desire to leave a correct and consistent impression on 
the reader. In this survey we cannot but be struck 
with the total dissimilarity between these institutions 
and those of the Aztecs, — the other great nation who 
led in the march of civilization on,this Western conti- 
nent, and whose empire in the northern portion of it 
was as conspicuous as that of the Incas in the south. 
Both nations came on the plateau and commenced their 
career of conquest at dates, it may be, not far removed 
from each other. ^3 And it is worthy of notice that, in 
America, the elevated region along the crests of the 
great mountain-ranges should have been the chosen 
seat of civilization in both hemispheres. 

Very different was the policy pursued by the two 

S3 Ante, chap. i. 

* [In the foregoing remarks the author has scarcely done justice to 
the artistic character of the Peruvian architecture, its great superiority 
to the Mexican, and the resemblances which it offers, in style and 
development, to the early stages of Greek and Egyptian art. The 
subject has been fully, and of course very ably, treated by Mr. Fer- 
!;usson, in his Handbook of Architecture. The Peruvian pottery, 
which Prescott has passed over with a mere incidental mention, might 
also have claimed particular notice. Its characteristics are now more 
familiar, from numerous specimens in public and private collections. 
For a description of these interesting relics, and a comparison with 
other remains of ancient ceramic art, see Wilson, Prehistoric Man, 
chap. 17. — Ed.] 


races in their military career. The Aztecs, animated 
by the most ferocious spirit, carried on a war of extermi- 
nation, signalizing their triumphs by the sacrifice of 
hecatombs of captives; while the Incas, although they 
pursued the game of conquest with equal pertinacity, 
preferred a milder policy, substituting negotiation and 
intrigue for violence, and dealt with their antagonists 
so that their future resources should not be crippled, 
and that they should come as friends, not as foes, into 
the bosom of the empire. 

Their policy towards the conquered forms a contrast 
no less striking to that pursued by the Aztecs. The 
Mexican vassals were ground by excessive imposts and 
military conscriptions. No regard was had to their 
welfare, and the only limit to oppression was the power 
of endurance. They were overawed by fortresses and 
armed garrisons, and were to feel every hour that 
they were not part and parcel of the nation, but held 
only in subjugation as a conquered people. The Incas, 
on the other hand, admitted their new subjects at once 
to all the rights enjoyed by the rest of the community ; 
and, though they madathem conform to the established 
laws and usages of the empire, they watched over their 
personal security and comfort with a sort of parental 
solicitude. The motley population, thus bound together 
by common interest, was animated by a common feel- 
ing of loyalty, which gave greater strength and stability 
to the empire as it became more and more widely ex- 
tended; while the various tribes who successively came 
under the Mexican sceptre, being held together only by 
the pressure of external force, were ready to fall asunder 
the moment that that force was withdrawn. The policy 



of the two nations displayed the principle of fear as 
contrasted with the principle of love. 

The characteristic features of their religious systems 
had as little resemblance to each other. The whole 
Aztec pantheon partook more or less of the sanguinary 
spirit of the terrible war-god who presided over it, and 
their frivolous ceremonial almost always terminated 
with human sacrifice and cannibal orgies. But the 
rites of the Peruvians were of a more innocent cast, as 
they tended to a more spiritual worship. For the wor- 
ship of the Creator is most nearly approached by that 
of the heavenly bodies, which, as they revolve in their 
bright orbits, seem to be the most glorious symbols of 
his beneficence and power. 

In the minuter mechanical arts, both showed con- 
siderable skill; but in the construction of important 
public works, of roads, aqueducts, canals, and in agri- 
culture in all its details, the Peruvians were much supe- 
rior. Strange that they should have fallen so far below 
their rivals in their efforts after a higher intellectual 
culture, in astronomical science more especially, and in 
the art of communicating thought by visible symbols. 
When we consider the greater refinement of the Incas, 
their inferiority to the Aztecs in these particulars can 
be explained only by the fact that the latter in all prob- 
ability were indebted for their science to the race who 
preceded them in the land, — that shadowy race whose 
origin and whose end are alike veiled from the eye of 
the inquirer, but who possibly may have sought a refuge 
from their ferocious invaders in those regions of Cen- 
tral America, the architectural remains of which now 
supply us with the most pleasing monuments of Indian 


civilization. It is with this more polished race, to 
whom the Peruvians seem to have borne some resem- 
blance in their mental and moral organization, that 
they should be compared. Had the empire of the 
Tncas been permitted to extend itself with the rapid 
strides with which it was advancing at the period of 
the Spanish conquest, the two races might have come 
into conflict, or perhaps into alliance, with one another. 
The Mexicans and Peruvians, so different in the 
character of their peculiar civilization, were, it seems 
probable, ignorant of each other's existence; and it 
may appear singular that, during the simultaneous con- 
tinuance of their empires, some: of the seeds of science 
and of art which pass so imperceptibly from one people 
to another should not have found their way across the 
interval which separated the two nations. They furnish 
an interesting example of the opposite directions which 
the human mind may take in its struggle to emerge 
^om darkness into the light of civilization.* 

* [Professor Daniel Wilson, commenting on this passage, remarks 
•hat. " whilst there seems little room for doubt that those two nations 
were ignorant of each other at the period of the discovert' of America, 
there are many indications in some of their arts of an earlier inter- 
course between the northern and southern continent." (Prehistoric 
Man, 2d edition, p. 285.) This supposition is connected with a theory 
put for^vard by the learned writer in regard to the aboriginal popula- 
tion of .America. Rejecting the common opinion of its ethnical unity, 
he considers the indications as pointing to two, or possibly three, great 
divisions of race, with as many distinct lines of immigration. He con- 
ceives "the earliest current of population" from "a supF>osed Asiatic 
cradle land" " to have spread through the islands of the Pacific and 
to have reached the South American continent long before an excess 
of .\siatic population had diffused itself into its own inhospitable 
northern steppes. By an Atlantic Ocean migration, another wave of 


A closer resemblance — as I have more than once 
taken occasion to notice — may be found between the 
Peruvian institutions and some of the despotic gov- 
ernments of Eastern Asia; those governments where 
despotism appears in its more mitigated form, and the 
whole people, under the patriarchal sway of the sove- 
reign, seem to be gathered together like the members 
of one vast family. Such were the Chinese, for ex- 
ample, whom the Peruvians resembled in their implicit 
obedience to authority, their mild yet somewhat stub- 
born temper, their solicitude for forms, their reverence 

population occupied the Canaries, Madeira, and the Azores, and so 
passed to the Antilles, Central America, and probably by the Cape 
Verdes, or, guided by the more southern equatorial current, to Brazil. 
Latest of all, Behring Straits and the North Pacific Islands may 
have become the highway for a northern migration by which certain 
striking diversities of nations of the northern continent, including the 
conquerors of the Mexican plateau, are most easily accounted for." 
(Ibid., p. 604.) " The north and south tropics were the centres of two 
distinct and seemingly independent manife tations of native develop- 
ment," but with " clear indications of an overlapping of two or more 
distinct migratory trails leading from opposite points." (Ibid., p. 602.) 
It is to be remarked that the novelty of this theory consists, not in any 
new suggestion to account for the original settlement of America, but 
in the adoption and symmetrical blending of various conjectures, and 
the application of them to explain the differences of physical charac- 
teristics, customs, development, etc., between the savage and civilized 
or semi-civilized nations scattered over the continent. The evidence 
offered in its support does not admit of being summarized here. Elab- 
orate as it is, it will scarcely be considered sufficient to establish the 
certainty of the general conclusions deduced by the author. On the 
other hand, his arguments in disproof of a supposed craniological 
uniformity of type among the American aborigines appear to be 
irresistible, and to justify the statement that "the form of the human 
«kull is just as little constant among different tribes or races of the New 
World as of the Old." (Ibid., p. 483.)— Ed.J 


for ancient usage, their skill in the minuter manufac- 
tures, their imitative rather than inventive cast of mind, 
and their invincible patience, which serves instead of 
a more adventurous spirit for the execution of difficult 
undertakings. 3* 

A still closer analogy may be found with the natives 
of Hindostan in their division into castes, their worship 
of the heavenly bodies and the elements of nature, and 
their acquaintance with the scientific principles of hus- 
bandry. To the ancient Egyptians, also, they bore 
considerable resemblance in the same particulars, as 
well as in those ideas of a future existence which led 
them to attach so much importance to the permanent 
preservation of the body. 

But we shall look in vain in the history of the East 
for a parallel to the absolute control exercised by the 
Incas over their subjects. In the East, this was founded 
on physical power, — on the external resources of the 
government. The authority of the Inca might be com- 
pared with that of the Pope in the day of his might, 
when Christendom trembled at the thunders of the 
Vatican, and the successor of St. Peter set his foot on 
the necks of princes. But the authority of the Pope 
was founded on opinion. His temporal power was 
nothing. The empire of the Incas rested on both. It 
was a theocracy more potent in its operation than that 

34 Count Carli has amused himself with tracing out the different 
points of resemblance between the Chinese and the Peruvians. The 
Emperor of China was styled the son of Heaven or of the Sun. He 
also held a plough once a year in presence of his people, to show his 
respect for agriculture. And the solstices and equinoxes were noted, 
to determine the periods of their religious festivals. The coincidences 
are curious. Lcttres Americaines, torn. ii. pp. 7, 8. 


of the Jews; for, though the sanction of the law might 
be as great among the latter, the law was expounded 
by a human lawgiver, the servant and representative 
of Divinity. But the Inca was both the lawgiver and 
the law. He was not merely the representative of 
Divinity, or, like the Pope, its vicegerent, but he was 
Divinity itself. The violation of his ordinance was 
sacrilege. Never was there a scheme of government 
enforced by such terrible sanctions, or which bore so 
oppressively on the subjects of it. For it reached not 
only to the visible acts, but to the private conduct, the 
words, the very thoughts, of its vassals. 

It added not a little to the efficacy of the govern- 
ment that below the sovereign there was gin order of 
hereditary nobles of the same divine original with him- 
self, who, placed far below himself, were still immeas- 
urably above the rest of the community, not merely by 
descent, but, as it would seem, by their intellectual 
nature. These were the exclusive depositaries of power, 
and, as their long hereditary training made them famil- 
iar with their vocation and secured them implicit defer- 
ence from the multitude, they became the prompt and 
well-practised agents for carrying out the executive 
measures of the administration. All that occurred 
throughout the wide extent of his empire — •such was the 
perfect system of communication — passed in review, as 
it were, before the eyes of the monarch, and a thousand 
hands, armed with irresistible authority, stood ready in 
every quarter to do his bidding. Was it not, as we 
have said, the most oppressive, though the mildest, of 
despotisms ? 

It was the mildest, from the very circumstance that 
Peru. — Vol. I. — H 15 


the transcendent rank of the sovereign, and the humble 
nay, sujierstitious, devotion to his will, made it super- 
fluous to assert this will by acts of violence or rigor. 
The great mass of the people may have appeared to 
his eyes as but little removed above the condition of 
the brute, formed to minister to his pleasures. But 
from their very helplessness he regarded them with 
feelings of commiseration, like those which a kind 
master might feel for the poor animals committed to 
his charge, or — to do justice to the beneficent character 
attributed to many of the Incas — that a parent might 
feel for his young and impotent offspring. The laws 
were carefully directed to their preservation and per- 
sonal comfort. The people were not allowed to be 
employed on works pernicious to their health, nor to 
pine — a sad contrast to their subsequent destiny — 
under the imposition of tasks too heavy for their 
powers. They were never made the victims of public 
or private extortion ; and a benevolent forecast watched 
carefully over their necessities, and provided for their 
relief in seasons of infirmity and for their sustenance 
in health. The government of the Incas, however 
arbitrary in form, was in its spirit truly patriarchal. 

Yet in this there was nothing cheering to the dignity 
of human nature. What the people had was conceded 
as a boon, not as a right. When a nation was brought 
under the sceptre of the Incas, it resigned every per- 
sonal right, even tlie rights dearest to humanity. Under 
this extraordinary polity, a people advanced in many 
of the social refinements, well skilled in manufactures 
and agriculture, were unacquainted, as we have seen, 
with money. They had nothing that deserved to be 



called property. They could follow no craft, could 
engage in no labor, no amusement, but such as was 
specially provided by law. They could not change 
their residence or their dress without a license from the 
government. They could not even exercise the freedom 
which is conceded to the most abject in other countries, 
— that of selecting their own wives. The imperative 
spirit of despotism would not allow them to be happy 
or miserable in any way but that established by law. 
The power of free agency — the inestimable and inborn 
right of every human being — was annihilated in Peru. 

The astonishing mechanism of the Peruvian polity 
could have resulted only from the combined authority 
of opinion and positive power in the ruler to an extent 
unprecedented in the history of man. Yet that it 
should have so successfully gone into operation, and 
so long endured, in opposition to the taste, the preju- 
dices, and the very principles of our nature, is a strong 
proof of a generally wise and temperate administration 
of the government. 

The policy habitually pursued by the Incas for the 
prevention of evils that might have disturbed the order 
of things is well exemplified in their provisions against 
poverty and idleness. In these they rightly discerned 
the two great causes of disaffection in a populous com- 
munity. The industry of the people was secured not 
only by their compulsory occupations at home, but by 
their employment on those great public works which 
covered every part of the country, and which still bear 
testimony in their decay to their primitive grandeur. 
Yet it may well astonish us to find that the natural 
difficulty of these undertakings, sufficiently great in 



itself, considering the imperfection of their tools and 
machinery, was inconceivably enhanced by the politic 
contrivance of the government. The royal edifices of 
Quito, we are assured by the Spanish conquerors, were 
constructed of huge masses of stone, many of which 
were carried all the way along the mountain-roads from 
Cuzco, a distance of several hundred leagues.^^ The 
great square of the capital was filled to a considerable 
depth with mould brought with incredible labor up the 
steep slopes of the Cordilleras from the distant shores 
of the Pacific Ocean. ^^ Labor was regarded not only 
as a means, but as an end, by the Peruvian law. 

33 " Era muy principal intento que la gente no holgase, que dava 
causa a que despues que los Ingas estuvieron en paz hacer traer de 
Quito al Cuzco piedra que venia de provincia en proNincia para hacer 
casas para si 6 p* el Sol en gran cantidad, y del Cuzco Uevalla a Quito 
p* el mismo efecto, . . . y asi destas cosas hacian los Ingas muchas 
de poco provecho y de escesivo travajo en que traian ocupadas las 
provincias ordinariam'^, y en fin el travajo era causa de su conserva- 
cion." Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. — Also Antig. y Monumentos del 
Peru. MS. 

36 This was literally gold dust ; for Ondegardo states that, when 
governor of Cuzco, he caused great quantities of gold vessels and 
ornaments to be disinterred from the sand in which they had been se- 
creted by the natives : " Que toda aquella plaza del Cuzco le sacaron 
la tierra propia, y se llevo d otras partes por cosa de gran estima, 6 la 
hincheron de arena de la costa de la mar, como haita dos palmos y 
medio en alg^nas partes, mas sembraron por toda e'Ja muchos vases 
de oro e plata, y hovejuelas y hombrecillos pequeiios de lo mismo, lo 
cual se ha sacado en mucha cantidad, que todo lo hemos visto; desta 
arena estaba toda la plaza, quando yo fui d govemar aquella Ciudad; 
€ si fue verdad que aquella se trajo de ellos, afirman e tienen puestos 
en sus registros, paresceme que sea ansi, que toda la tierra junta tubo 
necesidad de entender en ello, por que la plaza es grande, y no tiene 
numero las cargas que en ella entraron ; y la costa por lo mas cerca 
esta mas de nobenta leguas i. lo que creo, y cierto yo me satisfice, 



With their manifold provisions against poverty the 
reader has already been made acquainted. They were 
so perfect that in their wide extent of territory — much 
of it smitten with the curse of barrenness — no man, 
however humble, suffered for the want of food and 
clothing. Famine, so common a scourge in every 
other American nation, so common at that period in 
every country of civilized Europe, was an evil unknown 
in the dominions of the Incas. 

The most enlightened of the Spaniards who first 
visited Peru, struck with the general appearance of 
plenty and prosperity, and with the astonishing order 
with which every thing throughout the country was 
regulated, are loud in their expressions of admiration. 
No better government, in their opinion, could have 
been devised for the people. Contented with their 
condition, and free from vice, to borrow the language 
of an eminent authority of that early day, the mild 
and docile character of the Peruvians would have well 
fitted them to receive the teachings of Christianity, 
had the love of conversion, instead of gold, animated 
the breasts of the Conquerors. 37 And a philosopher 

porque todos dicen, que aquel genero de arena, no lo hay hasta la 
costa." Rel. Seg., MS. 

37 " Y si Dios permitiera que tubieran quien con celo de Cristiandad, 
y no con ramo de codicia, en lo pasado, les dieran entera noticia de 
nuestra sagrada Religion, era gente en que bien imprimiera, segun 
vemos por lo que ahora con la buena orden que hay se obra." Sar- 
miento, Relacion, MS., cap. 22.— But the most emphatic testimony to 
tlie merits of the people is that afforded by Mancio Sierra Lejesema, 
the last survivor of the early Spanish Conquerors, who settled in Peru. 
In the preamble to his testament, made, as he states, to relieve his 
conscience, at the time of his death, he declares that the whole popula- 
tion, under the Incas, was distinguished by sobriety and industry ; that 


of a later time, warmed by the contemplation of the 
picture — which his own fancy had colored — of public 
prosperity and private happiness under the rule of the 
Incas, pronounces "the moral man in Peru far superior 
to the European." 3^ 

Yet such results are scarcely reconcilable with the 
theory of the government I have attempted to analyze. 
Where there is no free agency there can be no morality. 
Where there is no temptation there can be little claim 
to virtue. Where the routine is rigorously prescribed 
by law, the law, and not the man, must have the credit 
of the conduct. If that government is the best which 
is felt the least, which encroaches on the natural liberty 
of the subject only so far as is essential to civil subor- 
dination, then of all governments devised by man the 
Peruvian has the least real claim to our admiration. 

It is not easy to comprehend the genius and the full 
import of institutions so opposite to those of our own 
free republic, where every man, however humble his 
condition, may aspire to the highest honors of the 
state, — may select his own career and carve out his 

such things as robbery and theft were unknown ; that, far from licen- 
tiousness, there was not even a prostitute in the country ; and that 
every thing was conducted with the greatest order, and entire submis- 
sion to authority. The paneg\'ric is somewhat too unqualified for a 
whole nation, and may lead one to suspect that the stings of remorse 
for his own treatment of the natives goaded the dying veteran into a 
higher estimate of their deserts than was strictly warranted by facts. 
Yet this testimony by such a man at such a time is too remarkable, as 
well as too honorable to the Peruvians, to be passed over in silence by 
the historian ; and I have tn nsferred the document in the original to 
Appendix No. 4. 

3^ " Sans doute I'homme 1 loral du Perou etoit infiniment plus per- 
fectionne que I'Europeen." Cadi, Lettres Americaines, tom. i. p. 215 



fortune in his own way; where the light of knowledge, 
instead of being concentrated on a chosen few, is shed 
abroad like the light of day, and suffered to fall equally 
on the poor and the rich ; where the collision of man 
with man wakens a generous emulation that calls out 
latent talent and tasks the energies to the utmost; 
where consciousness of independence gives a feeling 
of self-reliance unknown to the timid subjects of a 
despotism; where, in short, the government is made 
for man, — not as in Peru, where man seemed to be 
made only for the government. The New World is 
the theatre on which these two political systems, so 
opposite in their character, have been carried into 
operation. The empire of the Incas has passed away 
and left no trace. The other great experiment is 
still going on, — the experiment which is to solve the 
problem, so long contested in the Old World, of the 
capacity of man for self-government. Alas for hu- 
manity, if it should fail ! 

The testimony of the Spanish conquerors is not uni- 
form in respect to the favorable influence exerted by 
the Peruvian institutions on the character of the people. 
Drinking and dancing are said to have been the pleas- 
ures to which they were immoderately addicted. Like 
the slaves and serfs in other lands, whose position ex- 
cluded them from more serious and ennobling occupa- 
tions, they found a substitute in frivolous or sensual 
indulgence. Lazy, luxurious, and licentious, are the 
epithets bestowed on them by one of those who saw 
them at the Conquest, but whose pen was not too 
friendly to the Indian. ^^ Yet the spirit of independ- 

39 " Heran muy dados a la lujuria y al bever, tenian acceso carnal 


ence could hardly be strong in a people who had no 
interest in the soil, no personal rights to defend ; and 
the facility with which they yielded to the Spanish 
invader — after every allowance for their comparative 
inferiority — argues a deplorable destitution of that 
patriotic feeling which holds life as little in comparison 
with freedom. 

But we must not judge too hardly of the unfortunate 
native because he quailed before the civilization of the 
European. We must not be insensible to the really 
great results that were achieved by the government of 
the Incas. We must not forget that under their rule the 
meanest of the people enjoyed a far greater degree of 
personal comfort, at least a greater exemption from 
physical suffering, than was possessed by similar classes 
in other nations on the American continent, — greater, 
probably, than was possessed by these classes in most 
of the countries of feudal Europe. Under their sceptre 
the higher orders of the state had made advances in 
many of the arts that belong to a cultivated community. 
The foundations of a regular government were laid, 
which, in an age of rapine, secured to its subjects the 
inestimable blessings of tranquillity and safety. By the 

con las hermanas y las mugeres de sus padres como no fuesen sus 
mismas madres, y aun algunos avia que con ellas mismas lo hacian y 
ansi mismo con sus hijas. Estando borraclios tocavan algunos en el 
pecado nefando, emborrachavanse muy d menudo, y estando borra- 
clios todo lo que el demonio les traia d la voluntad hacian. Heran 
estos orejones muy soberbios y presuntuosos. . . . Tenian otras muchas 
maldades que por ser muchas no las digo." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. 
y Conq., MS. — These random aspersions of the hard conqueror show 
too gross an ignorance of the institutions of the people to merit much 
confidence as to what is said of their character. 



well-sustained policy of the Incas, the rude tribes of 
the forest were gradually drawn from their fastnesses and 
gathered within the folds of civilization ; and of these 
materials was constructed a flourishing and populous 
empire, such as was to be found in no other quarter of 
the American continent. The defects of this govern- 
ment were those of over-refinement in legislation, — ■ 
the last defects to have been looked for, certainly, in 
the American aborigines. 

Note. — I have not thought it necessary to swell this Introduction 
by an inquiry into the origin of Peruvian civilization, like that ap- 
pended to the history of the Mexican. The Peruvian history doubt- 
less suggests analogies with more than one nation in the East, some 
of which have been briefly adverted to in the preceding pages ; al- 
though these analogies are adduced there not as evidence of a com- 
mon origin, but a;; showing the coincidences which might naturally 
spring up among different nations under the same phase of civiliza- 
tion. Such coincidences are neither so numerous nor so striking as 
those afforded by the Aztec history. The correspondence presented 
by the astronomical science of the Mexicans is alone of more impor- 
tance than all the rest. Yet the light of analogy afforded by the in- 
stitutions of the Incas seems to point, as far as it goes, towards the 
same direction ; and as the investigation could present but little sub- 
stantially to confirm, and still less to confute, the views taken in the 
former disquisition, I have not thought it best to fatigue the reader 
vrith it. 

Two of the prominent authorities on whom I have relied in this 
Introductory portion of the work are Juan de Sarmiento and the 
Licentiate Ondegardo. Of the former I have been able to collect no 
information beyond what is afforded by his own writings. In the title 
prefixed to his manuscript he is styled President of the Council of 
the Indies, a post of high authority, which infers a weight of charac- 
ter and means of information that entitle his opinions on colonial 
topics to great deference. 

These means of information were much enlarged by Sarmiento's 


visit to the colonies during the administration of Gasca. Having con- 
ceived the design of compiling a history of the ancient Peruvian institu- 
tions, he visited Cuzco, as he tells us, in 1550, and there drew from 
the natives themselves the materials for his narrative. His position 
gave him access to the most authentic sources of knowledge, and from 
tlie lips of the Inca nobles, the best-instructed of the conquered race, 
he gathered the traditions of their national history and institutions. 
The quipus formed, as we have seen, an imperfect system of mnemon- 
ics, requiring constant attention, and much inferior to the Mexican 
hieroglyphics. It was only by diligent instruction that they were 
made available to historical purposes ; and this instruction was so far 
neglected after the Conquest that the ancient annals of the country 
would have perished with the generation which was the sole depositary 
of them, had it not been for the efforts of a few intelligent scholars, 
like Sarmiento, who saw the importance, at this critical period, of cul- 
tivating an intercourse with the natives and drawing from them their 
hidden stores of information. 

To give still further authenticity' to his work, Sarmiento travelled 
over the country, examined the principal objects of interest with his 
own eyes, and thus verified the accounts of the natives as far as pos- 
sible by personal observation. The result of these labors was his work 
entitled " Relacion de la sucesion y goviemo de las Yngas Senores 
naturales que fueron de las Provincias del Peru y otras cosas tocantes 
a aquel Reyno, para el Iltmo. Senor D" Juan Sarmiento, Presidente 
del Consejo R' de Indias."* 

*" [It is singular that Prescott should have fallen into the error ol 
supposing this language to indicate that the work was the composition 
of the person whose name appears in the title. Senor Gayangos, in a 
letter to Mr. Squier which that gentleman has kindly communicated 
to the editor, says, " It is evident to me that this Relation was written 
— perhaps by order of Don Juan Sarmiento, president of the Council 
of the Indies-^c?r him, and not ^jhim, as stated by Prescott;" and 
he points out the improbability of Sarmiento's ever having visited 
America, as well as of his having used the deferential tone in which 
the author of the manuscript addresses certain members of the Royal 
Audience, persons far inferior in rank to an ecclesiastic of high position 
holding one of the first offices in the kingdom. The mistake was so 
far fortunate that the doubts suggested by it seem to have led to an 
investigation, with the result of determining the real authorship of this 



It is divided into chapters, and embraces about four hundred foho 
pages in manuscript. The introductory portion of the work is occu- 
pied with the traditionary tales of the origin and early period of the 
Incas ; teeming, as usual in the antiquities of a barbarous people, 
with legendary fables of the most wild and monstrous character. Yet 
these puerile conceptions afford an inexhaustible mine for the labors 
of the antiquarian, who endeavors to unravel the allegorical web 
which a cunning priesthood had devised as symbolical of those mys- 
teries of creation that it was beyond their power to comprehend. 
But Sarmiento happily confines himself to the mere statement of tra- 
ditional fables, without the chimerical ambition to explain them. 

From this r.'gion of romance Sarmiento passes to the institutions 
of the Peruvians, describes their ancient polity, their religion, their 
progress in the arts, especially agriculture, and presents, in short, an 
elaborate picti re of the civilization which they reached under the 
Inca dynasty. This part of his work, resting, as it does, on the best 
authority, confirmed in many instances by his own observation, is of 
unquestionable value, and is written with an apparent respect for 
truth, that engages the confidence of the reader. The concluding 
portion of the manuscript is occupied with the civil history of the 
country. The reigns of the early Incas, which lie beyond the sober 
province of history, he despatches with commendable brevity. But on 
the three last reigns — fortunately, those of the greatest princes who 
occupied the Peruvian throne — he is more diffuse. This was com- 
paratively firm ground for the chronicler, for the events were too 
recent to be obscured by the vulgar legends that gather like moss 

important Relation, and of clearing up, at the same time, another 
mooted and not less interesting point in regard to one of the chief 
authorities for early Peruvian history. Seiior Gonzalez de la Rosa, a 
learned Peruvian, is able, according to a recent statement (London 
Athenaeum, July 5, 1873), " to prove that the manuscript in question is 
really the second part of the ' Chronicle of Peru' by Cieza de Leon, 
hitherto supposed to be lost." The evidence promised has not yet 
been adduced. It consists, no doubt, chiefly of those internal proofs 
which are in fact sufficient to put the matter beyond question, and 
which will find more appropriate mention in connection with Pres- 
cott's accjunt of the life and writings of Cieza de Leon, infra, vol. iL 
book iv., chap. 9. — Ed.] 


round every incident of the older time. His account stops with the 
Spanish invasion ; for this story, Sarmiento felt, might be safely left to 
his contemporaries who acted a part ii. it, but whose taste and educa- 
tion had qualified them but indifferently for exploring the antiquities 
and social institutions of the natives. 

Sarmiento's work is composed in a simple, perspicuous style, with- 
out that ambition of rhetorical display too common with his country- 
men. He writes with honest candor, and, while he does ample justice 
to tie merits and capacity of the conquered races, he notices with 
indignation the atrocities of the Spaniards and the demoralizing tend- 
ency of the Conquest. It may be thought, indeed, that he forms 
too high an estimate of the attainments of the nation under the Incas. 
And it is not improbable that, astonished by the vestiges it afforded- 
of an original civilization, he became enamored of his subject, and 
thus exhibited it in colors somewhat too glowing to the eye of the 
European. But this was an amiable failing, not too largely shared by 
the stem Conquerors, who subverted the institutions of the country, 
and saw little to admire in it save its gold. It must be further ad- 
mitted that Sarmiento has no design to impose on his reader, and that 
he is careful to distinguish between what he reports on hearsay and 
what on personal experience. The Father of History himself does 
not discriminate between these two things more carefully. 

Neither is the Spanish historian to be altogether vindicated from 
the superstition which belongs to his time ; and we often find him 
referring to the immediate interposition of Satan those effects which 
might quite as well be charged on the pen'erseness of man. But this 
was common to the age, and to the wisest men in it ; and it is too 
much to demand of a man to be wiser than his generation. It is 
sufficient praise of Sarmiento, that, in an age when superstition was 
too often allied with fanaticism, he seems to have had no tincture of 
bigotry in his nature. His heart opens with benevolent fulness to the 
unfortunate native ; and his language, while it is not kindled into the 
religious glow of the missionary, is warmed by a generous ray of 
philanthropy that embraces the conquered, no less than the conquerors, 
as his brethren. 

Notwithstanding the great value of Sarmiento's work for the in- 
formation it affords of Peru under the Incas, it is but little known, has 
been rarely consulted by historians, and still remains among the un- 
published manuscripts which lie, hke uncoined bullion, in the secret 
chambers of the Escorial. 


The other authority to whom I have alluded, the Licentiate Polo 
de Ondegardo, was a highly respectable jurist, whose name appears 
frequently in the affairs of Peru. I find no account of the period 
when he first came into the country. But he was there on the arrival 
of Gasca, and resided at Lima under the usurpation of Gonzalo Pi- 
zarro. When the artful Cepeda endeavored to secure the signatures 
of the inhabitants to the instrument proclaiming the sovereignty of 
his chief, we find Ondegardo taking the lead among those of his pro- 
fession in resisting it. On Gasca's arrival he consented to take a com- 
mission in his army. At the close of the rebellion he was made cor- 
regidor of La Plata, and subsequently of Cuzco, in which honorable 
station he seems to have remained several years. In the exercise of 
his magisterial functions he was brought into familiar intercourse with 
the natives, and had ample opportunity for studying their laws and 
ancient customs. He conducted himself with such prudence and 
moderation that he seems to have won the confidence not only of his 
countrymen but of the Indians; while the administration was careful 
to profit by his large experience in devising measures for the better 
government of the colony. 

The Relaciones , so often cited in this History, were prepared at the 
suggestion of the viceroys, the first being addressed to the Marques 
de Caiiete, in 1561, and the second, ten years later, to the Conde de 
Nieva. The two cover about as much ground as Sarmiento's manu- 
script; and the second memorial, written so long after the first, may 
be thought to intimate the advancing age of the author, in the greater 
carelessness and diffuseness of the composition. 

As these documents are in the nature of answers to the interroga- 
tories propounded by the government, the range of topics might seem 
to be limited within narrower bounds than the modern historian would 
desire. These queries, indeed, had particular reference to the revenues, 
the tributes, — the financial administration, in short, — of the Ir.cas; and 
on these obscure topics the communication of Ondegardo is particu- 
larly full. But the enlightened curiosity of the government embraced 
a far wider range ; and the answers necessarily implied an acquaintance 
with the domestic policy of the Incas, with their laws and social habits, 
their religion, science, and arts, in short, with all that make up the 
elements of civilization. Ondegardo's memoirs, therefore, cover the 
whole ground of inquiry for the philosophic historian. 

In the management of these various subjects Ondegardo displays 
both acuteness and erudition. He never shrinks from the discussion, 
Peru. — Vol. I. 16 


however difficult ; and while he gives his conclusions with an air of 
modesty, it is evident that he feels conscious of having derived his 
information through the most authentic channels. He rejects the 
fabulous with disdain ; decides on the probabilities of such facts as he 
relates, and candidly exposes the deficiency of evidence. Far from 
displaying the simple enthusiasm of the well-meaning but credulous 
missionary, he proceeds with the cool and cautious step of a lawyer 
accustomed to the conflict of testimony and the uncertainty of oral 
tradition. This circumspect manner of proceeding, and the temperate 
character of his judgments, entitle Ondegardo to much higher con- 
sideration as an authority than most of his countrj'men who have 
treated of Indian antiquities. 

There runs through his writings a vein of humanity, shown particu- 
larly in his tenderness to the unfortunate natives, to whose ancient 
civilization he does entire, but not extravagant, justice ; while, like 
Sarmiento, he fearlessly denounces the excesses of his own country- 
men, and admits the dark reproach they had brought on the honor of 
the nation. But while this censure forms the strongest ground for 
condemnation of the Conquerors, since it comes from the lips of a 
Spaniard like themselves, it proves, also, that Spain in this age of vio- 
lence could send forth from her bosom wise and good men who re- 
fused to make common cause with the licentious rabble around them. 
Indeed, proof enough is given in these ver)' memorials of the unceas- 
ing efforts of the colonial government, from the good viceroy Mendoza 
downwards, to secure protection and the benefit of a mild legislation 
to the unfortunate natives. But the iron Conquerors, and the colonist 
whose heart softened only to the touch of gold, presented a formidable 
barrier to improvement. 

Ondegardo's writings are honorably distinguished by freedom from 
that superstition which is the debasing characteristic of the times, — a 
superstition shown in the easy credit given to the marvellous, and this 
equally whether in heathen or in Christian story; for in the former 
the eye of credulity could discern as readily the direct interposition 
of Satan, as in the latter the hand of the Almighty. It is this ready 
belief in a spiritual agency, whether for good or for evil, which forms 
one of the most prominent features in the writings of the sixteenth 
century. Nothing could be more repugnant to the true spirit of 
philosophical inquiry, or more irreconcilable with rational criticism. 
Far from betraying such weakness, Ondegardo writes in a direct and 
business-like manner, estimating things for what they are worth by the 



plain rule of common sense. He keeps the main object of his argu- 
ment ever in view, without allowing himself, like the garrulous chron- 
iclers of the period, to be led astray into a thousand rambling episodes 
that bewilder the reader and lead to nothing. 

Ondegardo's memoirs deal not only with the antiquities of the na- 
tion, but with its actual condition, and with the best means for redress- 
ing the manifold evils to which it was subjected under the stern rule 
of its conquerors. His suggestions are replete with wisdom, and a 
merciful policy, that would reconcile the interests of government with 
the prosperity and happiness of its humblest vassal. Thus, while his 
contemporaries gathered light from his suggestions as to the present 
condition of affairs, the historian of later times is no less indebted to 
him for information in respect to the past. His manuscript was freely 
consulted by Herrera, and the reader, as he peruses the pages of the 
learned historian of the Indies, is unconsciously enjoying the benefit 
of the researches of Ondegardo. His valuable Relaciones thus had 
their uses for future generations, though they have never been ad- 
mitted to the honors of the press. The cogy in my possession, like 
that of Sarmiento's manuscript, for which I am indebted to that in- 
dustrious bibliographer Mr. Rich, formed part of the magnificent 
collection of Lord Kingsborough, — a name ever to be held in honor 
by the scholar for his indefatigable efforts to illustrate the antiquities 
of America. 

Ondegardo's manuscripts, it should be remarked, do not bear his 
signature. But they contain allusions to several actions of the writer's 
life, which identify them, beyond any reasonable doubt, as his produc- 
tion. In the archives of Simancas is a duplicate copy of the first me- 
morial, Relacion Primera, though, like the one in the Escorial, without 
its author's name. Muiioz assigns it to the pen of Gabriel de Rojas, 
a distinguished cavalier of the Conquest. This is clearly an error; 
for the author of the manuscript identifies himself with Ondegardo, 
by declaring, in his reply to the fifth interrogatory, that he was the 
person who discovered the mummies of the Incas in Cuzco, — an act 
expressly referred, both by Acosta and Garcilasso, to the Licentiate 
Polo de Ondegardo, when corregidor of that city. Should the savans 
of Madrid hereafter embrace among the publications of valuable 
manuscripts these Relaciones , they should be careful not to be led 
into an error here by the authority of a critic like Munoz, whose 
rriticism is rarely at fault. 



i6* ( 185 ) 







Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the 
comparative merit of the ancients and the moderns in 
the arts, in poetry, eloquence, and all that depends on 
imagination, there can be no doubt that in science the 
moderns have eminently the advantage. It could not 
be otherwise. In the early ages of the world, as in the 
early period of life, there was the freshness of a morn- 
ing existence, when the gloss of novelty was on every 
thing that met the eye ; when the senses, not blunted 
by familiarity, were more keenly alive to the beauti- 
ful, and the mind, under the influence of a healthy 
and natural taste, was not perverted by philosophical 
theory; when the simple was necessarily connected 
with the beautiful, and the epicurean intellect, sated 
by repetition, had not begun to seek for stimulants in 
the fantastic and capricious. The realms of fancy 
were all untravelled, and its fairest flowers had not 
been gathered, nor its beauties despoiled, by the rude 



touch of those who affected to cultivate thern. The 
wing of genius was not bound to the earth by the cold 
and conventional rules of criticism, but was permitted 
to take its flight far and wide over the broad expanse 
of creation. 

But with science it was otherwise. No genius could 
suffice for the creation of facts, — hardly for their de- 
tection. They were to be gathered in by painful in- 
dustry; to be collected from careful observation and 
experiment. Genius, indeed, might arrange and com- 
bine these facts into new forms, and elicit from their 
combinations new and important inferences, and in 
this process might almost rival in originality the crea- 
tions of the poet and the artist. But if the processes 
of science are necessarily slow, they are sure. There 
is no retrograde movement in her domain. Arts may 
fade, the Muse become dumb, a moral lethargy may 
lock up the faculties of a nation, the nation itself may 
pass away and leave only the memory of its existence, 
but the stores of science it has garnered up will endure 
forever. As other nations come upon the stage, and 
new forms of civilization arise, the monuments of art 
and of imagination, productions of an older time, will 
lie as an obstacle in the path of improvement. They 
cannot be built upon; they occupy the ground which 
the new aspirant for immortality would cover. The 
whole work is to be gone over again, and other forms 
of beauty — whether higher or lower in the scale of 
merit, unlike the past — must arise to take a place by 
their side. But, in science, every stone that has been 
laid remains as the foundation for another. The 
coming generation takes up the work where the pre- 


ceding left it. There is no retrograde movement. 
The individual nation may recede, but science still 
advances. Every step that has been gained makes the 
ascent easier for those who come after. Every step 
carries the patient inquirer after truth higher and higher 
towards heaven, and unfolds to him, as he rises, a wider 
horizon, and new and miore magnificent views of the 

Geography partook of the embarrassments which 
belonged to every other department of science in the 
primitive ages of the world. The knowledge of the 
earth could come only from an extended commerce; 
and commerce is founded on artificial wants or an en- 
lightened curiosity, hardly compatible with the earlier 
condition of society. In the infancy of nations, tht 
different tribes, occupied with their domestic feuds, 
found few occasions to wander beyond the mountain 
chain or broad stream that formed the natural boundary 
of their domains. The Phoenicians, it is true, are said 
to have sailed beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and to 
have launched out on the great western ocean. But 
the adventures of these ancient voyagers belong to the 
mythic legends of antiquity, and ascend far beyond 
the domain of authentic record. 

The Greeks, quick and adventurous, skilled in me- 
chanical art, had many of the qualities of successful 
navigators, and within the limits of their little inland 
sea ranged fearlessly and freely. But the conquests 
of Alexander did more to extend the limits of geo- 
graphical science, and opened an acquaintance with 
the remote countries of the East. Yet the march of 
the conqueror is slow in comparison with the move« 



merits of the unencumbered traveller. The Romans 
were still less enterprising than the Greeks, were less 
commercial in their character. The contributions to 
geographical knowledge grew with the slow acquisitions 
of empire. But their system was centralizing in its 
tendency; and, instead of taking an outward direction 
and looking abroad for discovery, every part of the 
vast imperial domain turned towards the capital as its 
head and central point of attraction. The Roman 
conqueror pursued his path by land, not by sea. But 
the water is the great highway between nations, the true 
element for the discoverer. The Romans were not a 
maritime people. At the close of their empire, geo- 
graphical science could hardly be said to extend farther 
than to an acquaintance with Europe, — and this not its 
more northern division, — together with a portion of 
Asia and Africa ; while they had no other conception 
of a world beyond the Western waters than was to be 
gathered from the fortunate prediction of the poet.' 

Then followed the Middle Ages; the dark ages, as 
they are called, though in their darkness were matured 
those seeds of knowledge which, in fulness of time, 
were to spring up into new and more glorious forms 

» Seneca's well-known prediction, in his Medea, is perhaps the most 
remarkable random prophecy on record. For it is not a simple ex- 
tension of the boundaries of the known parts of the globe that is so 
confidently announced, but the existence of a New World across the 
waters, to be revealed in coming ages : 

" Quibus Oceanus 
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens 
Pateat tellus, Typhisque Novos 
Detegat Orbes." 

It was the lucky hit of the philosopher rather than the poet. 



of civilization. The organization of society became 
more favorable to geographical science. Instead of one 
overgrown, lethargic empire, oppressing every thing by 
its colossal weight, Europe was broken up into various 
independent communities, many of which, adopting 
liberal forms of government, felt all the impulses 
natural to freemen; and the petty republics on the 
Mediterranean and the Baltic sent forth their swarms 
of seamen in a profitable commerce, that knit together 
the different countries scattered along the great Euro- 
pean waters. 

But the improvements which took place in the art 
of navigation, the more accurate measurement of time, 
and, above all, the discovery of the polarity of the 
magnet, greatly advanced the cause of geographical 
knowledge. Instead of creeping timidly along the 
coast, or limiting his expeditions to the narrow basins 
of inland waters, the voyager might now spread his 
sails boldly on the deep, secure of a guide to direct 
his bark unerringly across the illimitable waste. The 
consciousness of this power led thought to travel in a 
new direction; and the mariner began to look with 
earnestness for another path to the Indian Spice-islands 
than that by which the Eastern caravans had traversed 
the continent of Asia. The nations on whom the 
spirit of enterprise at this crisis naturally descended 
were Spain and Portugal, placed as they were on the 
outposts of the European continent, commanding the 
great theatre of future discovery. 

Both countries felt the responsibility of their new 
position. The crown of Portugal was constant in its 
efforts, through the fifteenth century, to find a passage 



round the southern point of Africa into the Indian 
Ocean ; though so timid was the navigation that every 
fresh headland became a formidable barrier, and it was 
not till the latter part of the century that the adven- 
turous Diaz passed quite round the Stormy Cape, as he 
termed it, but which John the Second, with happier 
augury, called the Cape of Good Hope. But, before 
Vasco da Gama had availed himself of this discovery 
to spread his sails in the Indian seas, Spain entered 
on her glorious career and sent Columbus across the 
Western waters. 

The object of the great navigator was still the dis- 
covery of a route to India, but by the west instead of 
the east. He had no expectation of meeting with a 
continent in his way, and, after repeated voyages, he 
remained in his original error, dying, as is well known, 
in the conviction that it was the eastern shore of Asia 
which he had reached. It was the same object which 
directed the nautical enterprises of those who followed 
in the Admiral's track; and the discovery of a strait 
into the Indian Ocean was the burden of every order 
from the government, and the design of many an 
expedition to different points of the new continent, 
which seemed to stretch its leviathan length along 
from one pole to the other. The discovery of an 
Indian passage is the true key to the maritime move- 
ments of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth 
century. It was the great leading idea that gave its 
peculiar character to the enterprise of the age. 

It is not easy at this time to comprehend the impulse 
given to Europe by the discovery of America. It was 
not the gradual acquisition of some border territory, 



a provinee or a kingdom that had been gained, but 
a new world that was now thrown open to the Euro- 
pean. The races of animals, the mineral treasures, the 
vegetable forms, and the varied aspects of nature, man 
in the different phases of civilization, filled the mind 
with entirely new sets of ideas, that changed the 
habitual current of thought and stimulated it to indefi- 
nite conjecture. The eagerness to explore the won- 
derful secrets of the new hemisphere became so active 
that the principal cities of Spain were, in a manner, 
depopulated, as emigrants thronged one after another 
to take their chance upon the deep.'' It was a world 
of romance that was thrown open ; for, whatever might 
be the luck of the adventurer, his reports on his return 
were tinged with a coloring of romance that stimulated 
still higher the sensitive fancies of his countrymen and 
nourished the chimerical sentiments of an age of chiv- 
alry. They listened with attentive ears to tales of 
Amazons which seemed to realize the classic legends 
of antiquity, to stories of Patagonian giants, to flaming 
pictures of an El Dorado where the sands sparkled 
with gems and golden pebbles as large as birds' eggs 
were dragged in nets out of the rivers. 

Yet that the adventurers were no impostors, but 
dupes, too easy dupes, of their own credulous fancies, 
is shown by the extravagant character of their enter- 
prises; by expeditions in search of the magical Foun- 

* The Venetian ambassador Andrea Navagiero, who travelled 
through Spain in 1525, near the period of the commencement of our 
narrative, notices the general fever of emigration. Seville, in particu- 
lar, the great port of embarkation, was so stripped of its inhabitants, 
he says, " that the city was left almost to the women." Viaggio fatto 
•n Spagna (Vinegia, 1563), fol. 15. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — i 17 



tain of Health, of the golden Temple of Doboyba, of 
the golden sepulchres of Zenu ; for gold was ever 
floating before their distempered vision, and the name 
of Castilla del Oro, Golden Castile, the most unhealthy 
and unprofitable region of the Isthmus, held out a 
bright promise to the unfortunate settler, who too fre- 
quently, instead of gold, found there only his grave. 

In this realm of enchantment, all the accessories 
served to maintain the illusion. The simple natives, 
with their defenceless bodies and rude weapons, were 
no match for the European warrior armed to the teeth 
in mail. The odds were as great as those found in any 
legend of chivalry, where the lance of the good knight 
overturned hundreds at a touch. The perils that lay 
in the discoverer's path, and the sufferings he had to 
sustain, were scarcely inferior to those that beset the 
knight-errant. Hunger and thirst and fatigue, the 
deadly effluvia of the morass with its swarms of ven- 
omous insects, the cold of mountain snows, and the 
scorching sun of the tropics, these were the lot of 
every cavalier who came to seek his fortunes in the 
New World. It was the reality of romance. The life 
of the Spanish adventurer was one chapter more — and 
not the least remarkable — in the chronicles of knight- 

The character of the warrior took on somewhat of 
the exaggerated coloring shed over his exploits. Proud 
and vainglorious, swelled with lofty anticipations of 
his destiny and an invincible confidence in his own 
resources, no danger could appall and no toil could tire 
him. The greater the danger, indeed, the higher the 
charm; for his soul revelled in excitement, and the 



enterprise without peril wanted that spur of romance 
which was necessary to rouse his energies into action. 
Yet in the motives of action meaner influences were 
strangely mingled with the loftier, the temporal with 
the spiritual. Gold was the incentive and the recom- 
pense, and in the pursuit of it his inflexible nature 
rarely hesitated as to the means. His courage was 
sullied with cruelty, the cruelty that flowed equally — 
strange as it may seem — from his avarice and his 
religion ; religion as it was understood in that age, — ■ 
the religion of the Crusader. It was the convenient 
cloak for a multitude of sins, which covered them even 
from himself. The Castilian, too proud for hypocrisy, 
committed more cruelties in the name of religion than 
were ever practised by the pagan idolater or the fanati- 
cal Moslem. The burning of the infidel was a sacrifice 
acceptable to Heaven, and the conversion of those who 
survived amply atoned for the foulest offences. It is a 
melancholy and mortifying consideration that the most 
uncompromising spirit of intolerance — the spirit of the 
Inquisitor at home, and of the Crusader abroad — 
should have emanated from a religion which preached 
peace upon earth and good will towards man ! 

What a contrast did these children of Southern 
Europe present to the Anglo-Saxon races who scat- 
tered themselves along the great northern division of 
the Western hemisphere ! For the principle of action 
with these latter was not avarice, nor the more specious 
pretext of proselytism; but independence, — independ- 
ence religious and political. To secure this, they were 
content to earn a bare subsistence by a life of frugality 
and toil. They asked nothing from the soil but the 



reasonable returns of their own labor. No golden 
visions threw a deceitful halo around their path and 
beckoned them onwards through seas of bbod to the 
subversion of an unoffending dynasty. They were con- 
tent with the slow but steady progress of their social 
polity. They patiently endured the privations of the 
wilderness, watering the tree of liberty with their tears 
and with the sweat of their brow, till it took deep root 
in the land and sent up its branches high towards the 
heavens; while the communities of the neighboring 
continent, shooting up into the sudden splendors of a 
tropical vegetation, exhibited, even in their prime, the 
sure symptoms of decay. 

It would seem to have been especially ordered by 
Providence that the discovery of the two great divis- 
ions of the American hemisphere should fall to the two 
races best fitted to conquer and colonize them. Thus, 
the northern section was consigned to the Anglo-Saxon 
race, whose orderly, industrious habits found an ample 
field for development under its colder skies and on its 
more rugged soil; while the southern portion, with its 
rich tropical products and treasures of mineral wealth, 
held out the most attractive bait to invite the enter- 
prise of the Spaniard. How different might have been 
the result if the bark of Columbus had taken a more 
northerly direction, as he at one time meditated, and 
landed its band of adventurers on the shores of what 
is now Protestant America! 

Under the pressure of that spirit of nautical enter- 
prise which filled the maritime communities of Europe 
in the sixteenth century, the whole extent of the mighty 
continent, from Labrador to Terra del Fuego, was ex- 



plored in less than thirty years after its discovery; and 
in 15 2 1 the Portuguese Maghellan, sailing under the 
Spanish flag, solved the problem of the strait, and 
found a westerly way to the long-sought Spice-islands 
of India, — greatly to the astonishment of the Portu- 
guese, who, sailing from the opposite direction, there 
met their rivals, face to face, at the antipodes. But 
while the whole eastern coast of the American conti- 
nent had been explored, and the central portion of it 
colonized, — even after the brilliant achievement of the 
Mexican conquest, — the veil was not yet raised that 
hung over the golden shores of the Pacific. 

Floating rumors had reached the Spaniards, from 
time to time, of countries in the far west, teeming 
with the metal they so much coveted; but the first dis- 
tinct notice of Peru was about the year 15 11, when 
Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the discoverer of the Southern 
Sea, was weighing some gold which he had collected 
from the natives. A young barbarian chieftain, who 
was present, struck the scales with his fist, and, scat- 
tering the glittering metal around the apartment, ex- 
claimed, "If this is what you prize so much that you 
are willing to leave your distant homes and risk even 
life itself for it, I can tell you of a land where they 
eat and drink out of golden vessels, and gold is as 
cheap as iron is with you." It was not long after this 
startling intelligence that Balboa achieved the for- 
midable adventure of scaling the mountain-rampart of 
the isthmus which divides the two mighty oceans from 
each other; when, armed with sword and buckler, he 
rushed into the waters of the Pacific, and cried out, in 
the true chivalrous vein, that "he claimed this unknown 


sea, with all that it contained, for the King of Castile, 
and that he would make good the claim against all, 
Christian or infidel, who dared to gainsay it" !^ All 
the broad continent and sunny isles washed by the 
waters of the Southern Ocean ! Little did the bold 
cavalier comprehend the full import of his magnificent 

On this spot he received more explicit tidings of the 
Peruvian empire, heard proofs recounted of its civili- 
zation, and was shown drawings of the llama, which, 
to the European eye,' seemed a species of the Arabian 
camel. But, although he steered his caravel for these 
golden realms, and even pushed his discoveries some 
twenty leagues south of the Gulf of St. Michael, the 
adventure was not reserved for him. The illustrious 
discoverer was doomed to fall a victim to that miserable 
jealousy with which a little spirit regards the achieve- 
ments of a great one. 

The Spanish colonial domain was broken up into a 
number of petty governments, which were dispensed 
sometimes to court favorites, though, as the duties 
of the post, at this early period, were of an arduous 
nature, they were more frequently reserved for men of 
some practical talent and enterprise. Columbus, by 
virtue of his original contract with the crown, had 
jurisdiction over the territories discovered by himself, 
embracing some of the principal islands, and a few 
places on the continent. This jurisdiction differed 
from that of other functionaries, inasmuch as it was 
hereditary; a privilege found in the end too consider- 

3 Herrera, Hist, general, dec. i, lib. 10, cap. 2. — Quintana, Vidas de 
Elspanoles celebres (Madrid, 1830), torn. ii. p. 44. 



able for a subject, and commuted, therefore, for a title 
and a pension. These colonial governments were 
multiplied with the increase of empire, and by the 
year 1524, the period at which our narrative properly 
commences, were scattered over the islands, along the 
Isthmus of Darien, the broad tract of Terra Firma, 
and the recent conquests in Mexico. Some of these 
governments were of no great extent ; others, like 
that of Mexico, were of the dimensions of a kingdom; 
and most had an indefinite range for discovery assigned 
to them in their immediate neighborhood, by which 
each of the petty potentates might enlarge his terri- 
torial sway and enrich his followers and himself. This 
politic arrangement best served the ends of the crown, 
by affording a perpetual incentive to the spirit of enter- 
prise. Thus living on their own little domains at a 
long distance from the mother-country, these military 
rulers held a sort of vice-regal sway, and too frequently 
exercised it in the most oppressive and tyrannical man- 
ner, — oppressive to the native, and tyrannical towards 
their own followers. It was the natural consequence, 
v/hen men originally low in station, and unprepared 
by education for office, were suddenly called to the 
possession of a brief, but in its nature irresponsible, 
authority. It was not till after some sad experience 
of these results that measures were taken to hold these 
petty tyrants in check by means of regular tribunals, 
or Royal Audiences, as they were termed, whicli, com- 
posed of men of character and learning, might inter- 
pose the arm of the law, or at least tlie voice of 
remonstrance, for the protection of both colonist and 


Among the colonial governors who were indebted 
for their situation to their rank at home was Don Pedro 
Arias de Avila, or Pedrarias, as usually called. He 
was married to a daughter of Dona Beatriz de Boba- 
dilla, the celebrated Marchioness of Moya, best known 
as the friend of Isabella the Catholic. He was a man 
of some military experience and considerable energy 
of character. But, as it proved, he was of a malignant 
temper; and the base qualities which might have passed 
unnoticed in the obscurity of private life were made 
conspicuous, and perhaps created in some measure, by 
sudden elevation to power; as the sunshine, which 
operates kindly on a generous soil and stimulates it to 
production, calls forth from the unwholesome marsh 
only foul and pestilent vapors. This man was placed 
over the territory of Castilla del Oro, the ground 
selected by Nunez de Balboa for the theatre of his 
discoveries. Success drew on this latter the jealousy 
of his superior, for it was crime enough in the eyes of 
Pedrarias to deserve too well. The tragical history of 
this cavalier belongs to a period somewhat earlier than 
that with which we are to be occupied. It has been 
traced by abler hands than mine, and, though brief, 
forms one of the most brilliant passages in the annals 
of the American conquerors.* 

But, though Pedrarias was willing to cut short the 
glorious career of his rival, he was not insensible to 

4 The memorable adventures of Vasco Nunez de Balboa have bten 
recorded by Quintana (Espanoles celebres, tom. ii.) and by Irving in 
his Companions of Columbus. It is rare that the life of an indi\'idual 
has formed the subject of two such elegant memorials, produced at 
nearly the same time, and in different languages, without any com- 
munication between the authors. 


the important consequences of his discoveries. He 
saw at once the unsuitableness of Darien for prosecuting 
expeditions on the Pacific, and, conformably to the 
original suggestion of Balboa, in 15 19 he caused his 
rising capital to be transferred from the shores of the 
Atlantic to the ancient site of Panama, some distance 
east of the present city of that name.s This most 
unhealthy spot, the cemetery of many an unfortunate 
colonist, was favorably situated for the great object 
of maritime enterprise; and the port, from its central 
position, afforded the best point of departure for expe- 
ditions, whether to the north or south, along the wide 
range of undiscovered coast that lined the Southern 
Ocean. Yet in this new and more favorable position 
several years were suffered to elapse before the course 
of discovery took the direction of Peru. This was 
turned exclusively towards the north, or rather west, 
in obedience to the orders of the governinent, which 
had ever at heart the detection of a strait that, as was 
supposed, must intersect some part or other of the 
long-extended Isthmus. Armament after armament was 

5 The court gave positive instructions to Pedrarias to make a settle- 
ment in the Gulf of St. Michael, in obedience to the suggestion of 
Vasco Nunez, that it would be the most eligible site for discovery and 
traffic in the South Sea : " El asiento que se oviere de hacer en el 
golfo de S. Miguel en la mar del sur debe ser en el puerto que mejor 
se hallare y mas convenible para la contratacion de aquel golfo, porque 
segund lo que Vasco Nuilez escribe, seria muy neccsario que alii 
haya algunos navios, asi para descubrir las cosas del golfo ; y de la 
comarca del, como para la contratacion de rescates de las otras cosas 
neccsarias al buen proveimiento de aquello ; e para que estos navios 
aprovechen es menester que se hagan alld." Capitulo de Carta escrita 
por el Rey Catolico i. Pedrarias Divila, ap. Navarrete, Coleccion de 
los Viages y Descubrimientos (Madrid, 1829), tora. iii. No. 3. 


fitted out with this chimerical object; and Pedrarias 
saw his domain extending every year farther and farther 
without deriving any considerable advantage from his 
acquisitions. Veragua, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, were 
successively occupied; and his brave cavaliers forced a 
way across forest and mountain and warlike tribes of 
savages, till, at Honduras, they came in collision with 
the companions of Cortes, the Conquerors of Mexico, 
who had descended from the great northern plateau on 
the regions of Central America, and thus completed 
the survey of this wild and mysterious land. 

It was not till 1522 that a regular expedition was 
despatched in the direction south of Panama, under 
the conduct of Pascual de Andagoya, a cavalier of 
much distinction in the colony. But that officer pene- 
trated only to the Puerto de Pinas, the limit of Bal- 
boa's discoveries, when the bad state of his health 
compelled .lim to re-embark and abandon his enter- 
prise at its commencement.* 

Yet the floating rumors of the wealth and civilization 
of a mighty nation at the south were continually reach- 
ing the ears and kindling the dreamy imaginations of 

6 According to Montesinos, Andagoya received a severe injury by a 
fall from his horse, while showing off the high-mettled animal to the 
wondering eyes of the natives. (Annales del Peni, MS., afio 1524.) 
But the Adelantado, in a memorial of his own discoveries, drawn up 
by himself, says nothing of this unlucky feat of horsemanship, but 
imputes his illness to his having fallen into the water, an accident by 
which he was near being drowned, so that it was some years before he 
recovered from the effects of it, — a mode of accounting for his pre- 
mature return, more soothing to his vanity, probably, than the one 
usually received. This document, important as coming from the pen 
of one of the primitive discoverers, is preserved in the Indian Archives 
of Seville, and was published by Navarrete, Coleccion, torn. iii. No. 7, 


the colonists; and it may seem astonishing that an 
expedition in that direction should have been so long 
deferred. But the exact position and distance of this 
fairy realm were matter of conjecture. The long tract 
of intervening country was occupied by rude and war- 
like races; and the little experience which the Spanish 
navigators had already had of the neighboring coast 
and its inhabitants, and, still more, the tempestuous 
character of the seas, — for their expeditions had taken 
place at the most unpropitious seasons of the year, — ■ 
enhanced the apparent difficulties of the undertaking 
and made even their stout hearts shrink from it. 

Such was the state of feeling in the little community 
of Panama for several years after its foundation. Mean- 
while, the dazzling conquest of Mexico gave a new im- 
pulse to the ardor of discovery, and in 1524 three men 
were found in the colony in whom the spirit of adven- 
ture triumphed over every consideration of difficulty 
and danger that obstructed the prosecution of the en- 
terprise. One among them was selected as fitted by 
his character to conduct it to a successful issue. That 
man was Francisco Pizarro ; and, as he held the same 
conspicuous post in the Conquest of Peru that was 
occupied by Cortes in that of Mexico, it will be neces- 
sary to take a brief review of his early history. 






Francisco Pizarro was born at Truxillo, a city of 
Estremadura, in Spain. The period of his birth is 
uncertain; but probably it was not far frorri 1471.' He 
was an illegitimate child, and that his parents should 
not have taken pains to perpetuate the date of his birth 
is not surprising. Few care to make a particular record 

* The few writers who venture to assign the date of Pizarro's birth 
do it in so vague and contradictory a manner as to inspire us with 
but little confidence in their accounts. Herrera, it is true, says posi- 
tively that he was sixty-three years old at the time of his death, in 
1541. (Hist, general, dec. 6, lib. 10, cap. 6.) This would carry back 
the date of his birth only to 1478. But Garcilasso de la Vega affirms 
that he was more than fifty years old in 1525. (Com. Real., Parte 2, 
lib. I, cap. I.) This would place his birth before 1475. Pizarro y 
Orellana, who, as a kinsman of the Conqueror, may be supposed to 
have had better means of information, says he was fifty-four years of 
age at the same date of 1525. (Varones ilustres del Nuevo-Mundo 
(Madrid, 1639), p. 128.) But at the period of his death he calls him 
nearly eighty years old! (p. 185.) Taking this latter as a round 
exaggeration for effect in the particular connection in which it is used, 
and admitting the accuracy of the former statement, the epoch of his 
birth will conform to that given in the text. This makes him scme- 
hrhat late in life to set about the conquest of an empire. But Colum- 
Dus, when he entered on his career, was still older. 



of their transgressions. His father, Gonzalo Pizarro, 
was a colonel of infantry, and served with some dis- 
tinction in the Italian campaigns under the Great Cap- 
tain, and afterwards in the wars of Navarre. His 
mother, named Francisca Gonzales, was a person of 
humble condition in the town of Truxillo.^ 

But little is told of Francisco's early years, and that 
little not always deserving of credit. According to 
some, he was deserted by both his parents, and left as a 
foundling at the door of one of the principal churches of 
the city. It is even said that he would have perished, 
had he not been nursed by a sow.^ This is a more dis- 
creditable fountain of supply than that assigned to the in- 
fant Romulus. The early history of men who have made 
their names famous by deeds in after-life, like the early 
history of nations, affords a fruitful field for invention. 

It seems certain that the young Pizarro received little 
care from either of his parents, and was suffered to grow 
up as nature dictated. He was neither taught to read 
nor write, and his principal occupation was that of a 
swineherd. But this torpid way of life did not suit 
the stirring spirit of Pizarro, as he grew older, and 
listened to the tales, widely circulated and so capti- 
vating to a youthful fancy, of the New World. He 
shared in the popular enthusiasm, and availed himself 
of a favorable moment to abandon his ignoble charge 
and escape to Seville, the port where the Spanish ad- 

» Xerez, Conquista del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 179. — Zarate, 
Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. i. — Pizarro y Orellana, Varones ilustres, 
p. 128. 

3 "Naci6 en Truxillo, i echaronlo k la puerta de la Iglesia, maind 
una Puerca ciertos Dias, no se hallando quien le quisiese dkr leche." 
Gomara, Hist, de las Ind., cap. 144. 
Peru. -Vol. I. 18 


ventureis embarked to seek their fortunes in the West. 
Few of them could have turned their backs on their 
native land with less cause for regret than Pizarro.* 

In what year this important change in his destiny 
look place we are not informed. The first we hear of 
him in the New World is at the island of Hispaniola, 
in 15 lo, where he took part in the expedition to Uraba 
in Terra Firma, under Alonzo de Ojeda, a cavalier 
whose character and achievements find no parallel but 
in the pages of Cervantes. Hernando Cortes, whose 
mother was a Pizarro, and related, it is said, to the 
father of Francis, was then in St. Domingo, and pre- 
pared to accompany Ojeda's expedition, but was pre- 
vented by a temporary lameness. Had he gone, the 
fall of the Aztec empire might have been postponed 
for some time longer, and the sceptre of Montezuma 
have descended in peace to his posterity. Pizarro 
shared in the disastrous fortunes of Ojeda's colony, 
and by his discretion obtained so far the confidence 
of his commander as to be left in charge of the settle- 
ment when the latter returned for supplies to the islands. 
The lieutenant continued at his perilous post for nearly 
two months, waiting deliberately until death should 
have thinned off the colony sufficiently to allow the 
miserable remnant to be embarked in the single small 
vessel that remained to it.^ 

4 According to the Comendador Pizarro y Orellana, Francis Pizarro 
served, while quite a stripling, with his father, in the Italian wars, and 
afterwards, under Columbus and other illustrious discoverers, in the 
New World, whose successes the author modestly attributes to his 
kinsman's valor as a principal cause ! Varones ilustres, p. 187. 

5 Pizarro y Orellana, Varones ilustres, pp. 121-128. — Herrera, Hist, 
gen., dec. i, lib. 7, cap. 14. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., alio 1510. 



After this, we find him associated with Balboa, the 
discoverer of the Pacific, and co-operating with him 
in establishing the settlement at Darien. He had the 
glory of accompanying this gallant cavalier in his ter- 
rible march across the mountains, and of being among 
the first Europeans, therefore, whose eyes were greeted 
with the long-promised vision of the Southern Ocean. 

After the untimely death of his commander, Pizarro 
attached himself to the fortunes of Pedrarias, and was 
employed by that governor in several military expe- 
ditions, which, if they afforded nothing else, gave him 
the requisite training for the perils and privations that 
lay in the path of the future Conqueror of Peru. 

In 15 15 he was selected, with another cavalier, 
named Morales, to cross the Isthmus and traffic with 
the natives on the shores of the Pacific. And there, 
while engaged in collecting his booty of gold and 
pearls from the neighboring islands, as his eye ranged 
along the shadowy line of coast till it faded in the 
distance, his imagination may have been first fired with 
the idea of, one day, attempting the conquest of the 
mysterious regions beyond the mountai: s. On the 
removal of the seat of government across the Isthmus 
to Panama, Pizarro accompanied Pedrarias, and his 
name became conspicuous among the cavaliers who 
extended the line of conquest to the north over the 
martial tribes of Veragua. But all these expeditions, 
whatever glory they may have brought him, were pro- 
ductive of very little gold, and at the age of fifty the 
captain Pizarro found himself in possession only of a 
tract of unhealthy land in the neighborhood of the 
capital, and of such repartimientos of the natives as 


were deemed suited to his military services.* Tlie 
New World was a lottery, where the great prizes were 
so few that the odds were much against the player; yet 
in the game he was content to stake health, fortune, 
and, too often, his fair fame. 

Such was Pizarro's situation when, in 1522, Andagoya 
returned from his unfinished enterprise to the south of 
Panama, bringing back with him more copious accounts 
than any hitherto received of the opulence and grandeur 
of the countries that lay beyond.' It was at this time, 
too, that the splendid achievements of Cortes made 
their impression on the public mind and gave a new 
impulse to the spirit of adventure. The southern ex- 
peditions became a common topic of speculation among 
the colonists of Panama. But the region of gold, as 
it lay behind the mighty curtain of the Cordilleras, was 
still veiled in obscurity. No idea could be formed of 
its actual distance; and tl e hardships and difficulties 
encountered by the few navigators who had sailed in 
that direction gave a gloomy character to the under- 
taking, which had hitherto deterred the most daring 
from embarking in it. There is no evidence that 
Pizarro showed any particular alacrity in the cause. 

* "Teniendo su casa, i Hacienda, i Repartimiento de Indies como 
uno de los Principales de la Tierra; porque siempre lo fue." Xerez. 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 79. 

7 Andagoya says that he obtained, while at Bini, veiy minute ac- 
counts of the empire of the Incas, from certain itinerant traders who 
frequented that country: "En esta provincia supe y hube relacion, 
ansi de los senores como de mercaderes e interpretes que ellos tenian, 
de toda la costa de todo lo que despues se ha visto hasta el Cuzco, 
particularmente de cada provincia la manera y gente della, porque 
estos alcanzaban por via de mercaduria mucha tierra." Navarrete, 
Coleccion, torn. iii. No. 7. 


Nor were his own funds such as to warrant any expec- 
tation of success without great assistance from others. 
He found this in two individuals of the colony, who 
took too important a part in the subsequent transactions 
not to be particularly noticed. 

One of them, Diego de Almagro, was a soldier of 
fortune, somewhat older, it seems probable, than Pi- 
zarro; though little is known of his birth, and even 
the place of it is disputed. It is supposed to have 
been the town of Almagro in New Castile, whence his 
own name, for want of a better source, was derived; 
for, like Pizarro, he was a foundling.* Few particulars 
are known of him till the present period of our history; 
for he was one of those whom the working of turbulent 
times first throws upon the surface, — less fortunate, 
perhaps, than if left in their original obscurity. In 
his military career, Almagro had earned the reputation 
of a gallant soldier. He was frank and liberal in his 
disposition, somewhat hasty and ungovernable in his 
passions, but, like men of a sanguine temperament, 
after the first sallies had passed away, not difficult to 
be appeased. He had, in short, the good qualities and 
the defects incident to an honest nature not improved 
by the discipline of early education or self-control. 

The other member of the confederacy was Hernando 

* " Decia el que hera de Ahnagro'' says Pedro Pizarro, who knew 
him well. Relacion del Descubrimiento y Conquista de los Reynos 
del Peru, MS. — See also Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. I. — 
Goinara, Hist, de las Ind., cap. 141. — Pizarro y Orellana, Varones 
ilustres, p. 211. The last writer admits that Almagro's parentage is 
unknown, but adds that the character of his early exploits infers an 
illustrious descent. This would scarcely pass for evidence with the 
College of Heralds. 



de Luque, a Spanish ecclesiastic, who exercised the 
functions of vicar at Panama, and had formerly filled 
the office of schoolmaster in the Cathedral of Darien. 
He seems to have been a man of singular prudence and 
knowledge of the world, and by his respectable quali- 
ties had acquired considerable influence in the little 
community to which he belonged, as well as the con- 
trol of funds, which made his co-operation essential to 
the success of the present enterprise. 

It was arranged among the three associates that the 
two cavaliers should contribute their little stock towards 
defraying the expenses of the armament, but by far the 
greater part of the funds was to be furnished by Luque. 
Pizarro was to take command of the expedition, and 
the business of victualling and equipping the vessels 
was assigned to Almagro. The associates found no 
difficulty in obtaining the consent of the governor to 
their undertaking. After the return of Andagoya, he 
had projected another expedition, but the officer to 
whom it was to be intrusted died. Why he did not 
prosecute his original purpose, and commit the affair 
to an experienced captain like Pizarro, does not appear. 
He was probably not displeased that the burden of the 
enterprise should be borne by others, so long as a good 
share of the profits went into his own coffers. This he 
did not overlook in his stipulations.' 

9 "Asi que estos tres compafieros ya dichos acordaron de yr d con- 
quistar esta provincia ya dicha. Pues consul landolo con Pedro Arias 
de Avila que d la sazon hera govemador en tierra firme, vino en 
ello haziendo compania con los dichos compafieros con condicion que 
Pedro Arias no havia de contribuir entonces con ningun dinero ni 
otra cosa sino de lo que se hallase en la tierra de lo que i. el le cupiese 
por \nrtud de la compania de alii se pagasen los gastos que d el le 


Thus fortified with the funds of Luque and the con- 
sent of the governor, Almagro was not slow to make 
preparations for the voyage. Two small vessels were 
purchased, the larger of which had been originally 
built by Balboa for himself, with a view to this same 
expedition. Since his death, it had lain dismantled in 
the harbor of Panama. It was now refitted as well as 
circumstances would permit, and put in order for sea, 
while the stores and provisions were got on board with 
an alacrity which did more credit, as the event proved, 
to Almagro's zeal than to his forecast. 

There was more difficulty in obtaining the necessary 
complement of hands; for a general feeling of distrust 
had gathered round expeditions in this direction, which 
could not readily be overcome. But there were many 
idle hangers-on in the colony, who had come out to 
mend their fortunes, and were willing to take their 
chance of doing so, however desperate. From such 
materials as these, Almagro assembled a body of some- 
what more than a hundred men;"* and, every thing 

cupiesen. Los tres companeros vinieron en ello por aver esta licencia 
porque de otra manera no la alcanzaran." (Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y 
Conq., MS.) Andagoya, however, affirms that the governor was in- 
terested equally with the other associates in the adventure, each taking 
a fourth part on himself. (Navarrete, Coleccion, tom. iii. No. 7.) 
But whatever was the original interest of Pedrarias, it mattered little, 
as it was surrendered before any profits were realized from the ex- 

'° Herrera, the most popular historian of these transactions, esti- 
mates the number of Pizarro's followers at only eighty. But every 
other authority which I have consulted raises them to over a hundred. 
Father Naharro, a contemporary, and resident at Lima, even allows a 
hundred and twenty-nine. Relacion sumaria de la Entrada de los 
Espaiioles en el Peru, MS. 


being ready, Pizarro assumed the command, and, weigh- 
ing anchor, took his departure from the little port of 
Panama about the middle of November, 1524. Al- 
magro was to follow in a second vessel of inferior size, 
as soon as it could be fitted out." 

The time of year was the most unsuitable that could 
have been selected for the voyage; for it was the rainy 
season, when the navigation to the south, impeded by 
contrary winds, is made doubly dangerous by the tem- 
pests that sweep over the coast. But this was not 
understood by the adventurers. After touching at the 
Isle of Pearls, the frequent resort of navigators, at a 
few leagues' distance from Panama, Pizarro held his 
way across the Gulf of St. Michael, and steered almost 
due south for the Puerto de Pinas, a headland in the 
province of Biruquete, which marked the limit of An- 
dagoya's voyage. Before his departure, Pizarro had 
obtained all the information which he could derive 
from that officer in respect to the country, and the 
route he was to follow. But the cavalier's own experi- 
ence had been too limited to enable him to be of much 

Doubling the Puerto de Pinas, the little vessel en- 

" There is the usual discrepancy among authors about the date of 
this expedition. Most fix it at 1525. I have conformed to Xerez, 
Pizarro's secretary, whose narrative was published ten years after the 
voyage, and who could hardly have forgotten the date of so memor- 
able an event in so short an interval of time. (See his Conquista del 
Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 179.) — The year seems to be settled by 
Pizarro's Capitulacion with the crown, which I had not examined till 
after the above was written. This instrument, dated July, 1529, speaks 
of his first expedition as having taken place about five years previous. 
(See Appendix No. 7.) 


tered the river Biru, the misapplication of which name 
is supposed by some to have given rise to that of the 
empire of the Incas." After sailing up this stream for 
a couple of leagues, Pizarro came to anchor, and, dis- 
embarking his whole force except the sailors, proceeded 
at the head of it to explore the country. The land 
spread out into a vast swamp, where the heavy rains 
had settled in pools of stagnant water, and the muddy 
soil afforded no footing to the traveller. This dismal 
morass was fringed with woods, through whose thick 
and tangled undergrowth they found it difficult to pene- 
trate; and, emerging from them, they came out on a 
hilly country, so rough and rocky in its character that 
their feet were cut to the bone, and the weary soldier, 
encumbered with his heavy mail or thick-padded doub- 
let of cotton, found it difficult to drag one foot after 
the other. The heat at times was oppressive ; and, 
fainting with toil and famished for want of food, they 
sank down on the earth from mere exhaustion. Such 
was the ominous commencement of the expedition to 

Pizarro, however, did not lose heart. He endeavored 
to revive the spirits of his men, and besought them not 
to be discouraged by difficulties which a brave heart 
would be sure to overcome, reminding them of the 
golden prize which awaited those who persevered. Yet 
it was obvious that nothing was to be gained by re- 
maining longer in this desolate region. Returning to 
their vessel, therefore, it was suffered to drop down 

" Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. I, cap. I. — Herrera, Hist, general, 
dec. 3, lib. 6, cap. 13. 


the river and proceed along its southern course on the 
gieat ocean. 

After coasting a few leagues, Pizarro anchored off a 
place not very inviting in its appearance, where he took 
in a supply of wood and water. Then, stretching more 
towards the open sea, he held on in the same direction 
towards the south. But in this he was baffled by a 
succession of heavy tempests, accompanied with such, 
tremendous peals of thunder and floods of rain as are 
found only in the terrible storms of the tropics. The 
sea was lashed into fury, and, swelling into mountain 
billows, threatened every moment to overwhelm the 
crazy little bark, which opened at every seam. For 
ten days the unfortunate voyagers were tossed about by 
the pitiless elements, and it was only by incessant exer- 
tions — the exertions of despair — that they preserved 
the ship from foundering. To add to their calamities, 
their provisions began to fail, and they were short of 
water, of which they had been furnished only with a 
small number of casks; for Almagro had counted on 
their recruiting their scanty supplies, from time to 
time, from the shore. Their meat was wholly con- 
sumed, and they were reduced to the wretched allow- 
ance of two ears of Indian corn a day for each man. 

Thus harassed by hunger and the elements, the bat- 
tered voyagers were too happy to retrace their course 
and regain the port where they had last taken in sup- 
plies of wood and water. Yet nothing could be more 
unpromising than the aspect of the country. It had 
the same character of low, swampy soil that distin- 
guished the former landing-place; while thick-matted 
forests, of a depth which the eye could not penetrate, 


Stretched along tine coast to an interminable length. 
It was in vain that the wearied Spaniards endeavored 
to thread the mazes of this tangled thicket, where the 
creepers and flowering vines, that shoot up luxuriant 
in a hot and humid atmosphere, had twined themselves 
round the huge trunks of the forest-trees and made a 
net-work that could be opened only with the axe. The 
rain, in the mean time, rarely slackened, and the ground, 
strewed with leaves and saturated with moisture, seemed 
to slip away beneath their feet. 

Nothing could be more dreary and disheartening 
than the aspect of these funereal forests, where the 
exhalations from the overcharged surface of the ground 
poisoned the air, and seemed to allow no life, except 
that, indeed, of myriads of insects, whose enamelled 
wings glanced to and fro, like sparks of fire, in every 
opening of the woods. Even the brute creation ap- 
peared instinctively to have shunned the fatal spot, and 
neither beast nor bird of any description was seen by 
the wanderers. Silence reigned unbroken in the heart 
of these dismal solitudes; at least, the only sounds 
that could be heard were the plashing of the rain- 
drops on the leaves, and the tread of the forlorn ad- 
venturers. '^ 

Entirely discouraged by the aspect of the country, 
the Spaniards began to comprehend that they had 
gained nothing by changing their quarters from sea to 
shore, and they felt the most serious apprehensions of 

'3 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 180. — Relacion del 
primer Descub., MS. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1515. — Za- 
rate Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. i. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, 
lib. I, cap. 7. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 6, cap. 13. 


perishing from famine in a region which afforded 
nothing but such unwholesome berries as they could 
pick here and there in the woods. They loudly com- 
plained of their hard lot, accusing their commander as 
the author of all their troubles, and as deluding them 
with promises of a fairy-land, which seemed to recede 
in proportion as they advanced. It was of no use, 
they said, to contend against fate, and it was better 
to take their chance of regaining the port of Panama 
in time to save their lives, than to wait where they 
were to die of hunger. 

But Pizarro was prepared to encounter much greater 
evils than these before returning to Panama, bankrupt 
in credit, an object of derision as a vainglorious 
dreamer who had persuaded others to embark in an 
adventure which he had not the courage to carry 
through himself. The present was his only chance. 
To return would be ruin. He used every argument, 
therefore, that mortified pride or avarice could suggest 
to turn his followers from their purpose ; represented 
to them that these were the troubles that necessarily 
lay in the path of the discoverer, and called to mind 
the brilliant successes of their countrymen in other 
quarters, and the repeated reports which they had 
themselves received of the rich regions along this 
coast, of which it required only courage and constancy 
on their part to become the masters. Yet, as their 
present exigencies were pressing, he resolved to send 
back the vessel to the Isle of Pearls, to lay in a fresh 
stock of provisions for his company, which might 
enable them to go forward with renewed confidence. 
The distance was not great, and in a few days they 


would all be relieved from their perilous position. The 
officer detached on this service vi'as named Monte- 
negro ; and, taking with him nearly half the company, 
after receiving Pizarro's directions, he instantly weighed 
anchor and steered for the Isle of Pearls. 

On the departure of his vessel, the Spanish com- 
mander made an attempt to explore the country and 
see if some Indian settlement might not be found, 
where he could procure refreshments for his followers. 
But his efforts were vain, and no trace was visible of a 
human dwelling; though in the dense and impenetra- 
ble foliage of the equatorial regions the distance of a 
few rods might suffice to screen a city from observa- 
tion. The only means of nourishment left to the un- 
fortunate adventurers were such shell-fish as they occa- 
sionally picked up on the shore, or the bitter buds of 
the palm-tree, and such berries and unsavory herbs as 
grew wild in the woods. Some of these were so poison- 
ous that the bodies of those who ate them swelled up 
and were tormented with racking pains. Others, pre- 
ferring famine to this miserable diet, pined away from 
weakness and actually died of starvation. Yet their 
resolute leader strove to maintain his own cheerfulness 
and to keep up the drooping spirits of his men. He 
freely shared with them his scanty stock of provisions, 
was unwearied in his endeavors to procure them sus- 
tenance, tended the sick, and ordered barracks to be 
constructed for their accommodation, which might at 
least shelter them from the drenching storms of the 
season. By this ready sympathy with his followers in 
their sufferings he obtained an ascendency over their 
rough natures which the assertion of authority, at least 
Peru. — Vol. I. — k 19 


in the present extremity, could never have secured to 

Day after day, week after week, had now passed 
away, and no tidings were heard of the vessel that was 
to bring relief to the wanderers. In vain did they 
strain their eyes over the distant waters to catch a 
glimpse of their coming friends. Not a speck was to 
be seen in the blue distance, where the canoe of the 
savage dared not venture, and the sail of the white 
man was not yet spread. Those who had borne up 
bravely at first now gave way to despondency, as they 
felt themselves abandoned by their countrymen on this 
desolate shore. They pined under that sad feeling 
which " maketh the heart sick." More than twenty 
of the little band had already died, and the survivors 
seemed to be rapidly following.'* 

At this crisis reports were brought to Pizarro of a 
light having been seen through a distant opening in 
the woods. He hailed the tidings with eagerness, as 
intimating the existence of some settlement in the 
neighborhood, and, putting himself at the head of a 
small party, went iij the direction pointed out, to re- 
connoitre. He was not disappointed, and, after extri- 
cating himself from a dense wilderness of underbrush 
and foliage, he emerged into an open space, where a 
small Indian village was planted. The timid inhabit- 
ants, on the sudden apparition of the strangers, quitted 
their huts in dismay; and the famished Spaniards, 
rushing in, eagerly made themselves masters of their 
contents. These consisted of different articles of food, 

•< Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 6, cap. 13. — Relacion dd 
primer. Descub., MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ubi supra. 



chiefly maize and cocoanuts. The supply, though 
small, was too seasonable not to fill them with rapture. 
The astonished natives made no attempt at resist- 
ance. But, gathering more confidence as no violence 
was offered to their persons, they drew nearer the white 
men, and inquired, "Why they did not stay at home 
and till their own lands, instead of roaming about to 
rob others who had never harmed them?"'^ Whatever 
may have been their opinion as to the question of 
right, the Spaniards, no doubt, felt then that it would 
have been wiser to do so. But the savages wore about 
their persons gold ornaments of some size, though of 
clumsy workmanship. This furnished the best reply to 
their demand. It was the golden bait which lured the 
Spanish adventurer to forsake his pleasant home for 
the trials of the wilderness. From the Indians Pizarro 
gathered a confirmation of the reports he had so often 
received of a rich country lying farther south; and at 
the distance of ten days' journey across the mountains, 
they told him, there dwelt a mighty monarch whose 
dominions had been invaded by another still more 
powerful, the Child of the Sun.'* It may have been 

»5 " Porque decian k los Castellanos, que por qufe no sembraban, i 
cogian, sin andar tomando los Bastimentos agenos, pasando tantos 
trabajos?" Herrera, Hist, general, loc. cit. 

'* " Dioles noticia el viejo por medio del lengua, como diez soles 
de alii habia un Rey muy poderoso yendo por espesas montaiias, y 
que otro mas poderoso hijo del sol habia venido de milagro d quitarie 
el Reino sobre que tenian mui sangrientas batallas.'' (Montesinos, 
Annales, MS., ano 1525.) The conquest of Quito by Huayna Capac 
took place more than thirty years before this period in our historj'. 
But the particulars of this revolution, its time or precise theatre, were 
probably but very vaguely comprehended by the rude nations in the 
neighborhood of Panamd; and their allusion to it in an unknown dia- 


the invasion of Quito that was meant, by the valiant 
Inca Huayna Capac, which took place some years pre- 
vious to Pizarro's expedition. 

At length, after the expiration of more than six 
weeks, the Spaniards beheld with delight the return 
of the wandering bark that had borne away their com- 
rades, and Montenegro sailed into port with an ample 
supply of provisions for his famishing countrymen. 
Great was his horror at the aspect presented by the 
latter, their wild and haggard countenances and wasted 
frames, — so wasted by hunger and disease that their 
old companions found it difficult to recognize them, 
Montenegro accounted for his delay by incessant head- 
winds and bad weather ; and he himself had also a 
doleful tale to tell of the distress to which he and his 
crew had been reduced by hunger on their passage to 
the Isle of Pearls, It is minute incidents like these 
with which we have been occupied that enable one to 
comprehend the extremity of suffering to which the 
Spanish adventurer was subjected in the prosecution of 
his great work of discovery. 

Revived by the substantial nourishment to which 
they had so long been strangers, the Spanish cavaliers, ' 
with the buoyancy that belongs to men of a hazardous 
and roving life, forgot their past distresses in their 
eagerness to prosecute their enterprise. Re-embark- 
ing, therefore, on board his vessel, Pizarro bade adieu 
to the scene of so much suffering, which he branded 
with the appropriate name of Puerto de la Hambre, 
the Port of Famine, and again opened his sails to a 

lect was as little comprehended by the Spanish voyagers, who must 
have collected their information from signs much more than words. 


favorable breeze that bore him onwards towards the 

Had he struck boldly out into the deep, instead of 
hugging the inhospitable shore, where he had hitherto 
found so little to recompense him, he might have 
spared himself the repetition of wearisome and un- 
profitable adventures and reached by a shorter route 
the point of his destination. But the Spanish mariner 
groped his way along these unknown coasts, landing at 
every convenient headland, as if fearful lest some fruit- 
ful region or precious mine might be overlooked should 
a single break occur in the line of survey. Yet it 
should be remembered that, though the true point of 
Pizarro's destination is obvious to us, familiar with the 
topography of these countries, he was wandering in 
the dark, feeling his way along inch by inch, as it 
were, without chart to guide him, without knowledge 
of the seas or of the bearings of the coast, and even 
with no better defined idea of the object at which he 
aimed than that of a land, teeming with gold, that lay 
somewhere at the south ! It was a hunt after an El 
Dorado, on information scarcely more circumstantial 
or authentic than that which furnished the basis of so 
many chimerical enterprises in this land of wonders. 
Success only, the best argument with the multitude, 
redeemed the expeditions of Pizarro from a similar 
imputation of extravagance. 

Holding on his southerly course under the lee of 
the shore, Pizarro, after a short run, found himself 
abreast of an open reach of country, or at least one 
less encumbered with wood, which rose by a gradual 
swell as it receded from the coast. He landed with a 


small body of men, and, advancing a short distance 
into the interior, fell in with an Indian hamlet. It 
was abandoned by the inhabitants, who on the approach 
of the invaders had betaken themselves to the moun- 
tains ; and the Spaniards, entering their deserted dwell- 
ings, found there a good store of maize and other 
articles of food, and rude ornaments of gold of con- 
siderable value. Food was not more necessary for 
their bodies than was the sight of gold, from time to 
time, to .stimulate their appetite for adventure. One 
spectacle, however, chilled their blood with horror. 
This was the sight of human flesh, which they found 
roasting before the fire, as the barbarians had left it, 
preparatory to their obscene repast. The Spaniards, 
conceiving that they had fallen in with a tribe of 
Caribs, the only race in that part of the New World 
known to be cannibals, retreated precipitately to their 
vessel.'' They were not steeled by sad familiarity with 
the spectacle, like the Conquerors of Mexico. 

The weather, which had been favorable, now set in 
tempestuous, with heavy squalls, accompanied by in- 
cessant thunder and lightning, and the rain, as usual 
in these tropical tempests, descended not so much in 
drops as in unbroken sheets of water. The Spaniards, 
however, preferred to take their chance on the raging 
element rather than remain in the scene of such brutal 
abominations. But the fury of the storm gradually 
subsided, and the little vessel held on her way along 

'7 " I en las Ollas de la comida, que estaban al Fuego, entre la 
Carne, que sacaban, havia Pies i Manos de Honibres, de donde cono- 
cieron, que aquellos Indios era-i Caribes." Herrera, Hist, general, 
dec. 3, lib. 8, cap. 11. 



the coast, till, coming abreast of a bold point of land 
named by Pizarro Punta Quemada, he gave orders to 
anchor. The margin of the shore was fringed with a 
deep belt of mangrove-trees, the long roots of which, 
interlacing one another, formed a kind of submarine 
lattice-work that made the place difficult of approach. 
Several avenues, opening through this tangled thicket, 
led Pizarro to conclude that the country must be in- 
habited, and he disembarked, with the greater part of 
his force, to explore the interior. 

He had not penetrated more than a league when he 
found his conjecture verified by the sight of an Indian 
town, of larger size than those he had hitherto seen, 
occupying Ihe brow of an eminence, and well defended 
by palisades. The inhabitants, as usual, had fled, but 
left in their dwellings a good supply of provisions and 
some gold trinkets, which the Spaniards made no diffi- 
culty of appropriating to themselves. Pizarro's flimsy 
bark had been strained by the heavy gales it had of 
late encountered, so that it was unsafe to prosecute the 
voyage farther without more thorough repairs than 
could be given to her on this desolate coast. He ac- 
cordingly determined to send her back with a few hands 
to be careened at Panama, and meanwhile to establish 
his quarters in his present position, which was so favor- 
able for defence. But first he despatched a small party 
under Montenegro to reconnoitre the country, and, if 
possible, to open a communication with the natives. 

The latter were a warlike race. They had left their 
habitations in order to place their wives and children 
in safety. But they had kept an eye on the movements 
of the invaders, and when they saw their forces divided 



they resolved to fall upon each body singly before it 
could communicate with the other. So soon, there- 
fore, as Montenegro had penetrated through the defiles 
of the lofty hills which shoot out like spurs of the Cor- 
dilleras along this part of the coast, the Indian war- 
riors, springing from their ambush, sent off a cloud of 
arrows and other missiles that darkened the air, while 
they made the forest ring with their shrill war-whoop. 
The Spaniards, astonished at the appearance of the 
savages, with their naked bodies gaudily painted, and 
brandishing their weapons as they glanced among the 
trees and straggling underbrush that choked up the 
defile, were taken by surprise and thrown for a moment 
into disarray. Three of their number were killed and 
several wounded. Yet, speedily rallying, they returned 
the discharge of the assailants with their cross-bows, — 
for Pizarro's troops do not seem to have been provided 
with muskets on this expedition, — and then, gallantly 
charging the enemy, sword in hand, succeeded in 
driving them back into the fastnesses of the mountains. 
But it only led them to shift their operations to another 
quarter, and make an assault on Pizarro before he could 
be relieved by his lieutenant. 

Availing themselves of their superior knowledge of 
the passes, they reached that commander's quarters 
long before Montenegro, who had commenced a coun- 
termarch in the same direction ; and, issuing from the 
woods, the bold savages saluted the Spanish garrison 
with a tempest of darts and arrows, some of which 
found their way through the joints of the harness and 
the quilted mail of the cavaliers. But Pizarro was too 
well-practised a soldier to be off his guard. Calling 


his men about him, he resolved not to abide the assault 
tamely in the works, but to sally out and meet the 
enemy on their own ground. The barbarians, who 
had advanced near the defences, fell back as the Span- 
iards burst forth with their valiant leader at their head. 
But, soon returning with admirable ferocity to the 
charge, they singled out Pizarro, whom by his bold 
bearing and air of authority they easily recognized as 
the chief, and, hurling at him a storm of missiles, 
wounded him, in spite of his armor, in no less than 
seven places.'' 

Driven back by the fury of the assault directed 
against his own person, the Spanish commander re- 
treated down the slope of the hill, still defending him- 
self as he could with sword and buckler, when his foot 
slipped, and he fell. The enemy set up a fierce yell of 
triumph, and some of the boldest sprang forward to 
despatch him. But Pizarro was on his feet in an in- 
stant, and, striking down two of the foremost with his 
strong arm, held the rest at bay till his soldiers could 
come to the rescue. The barbarians, struck with ad- 
miration at his valor, began to falter, when Montenegro 
luckily coming on the ground at the moment, and 
falling on their rear, completed their confusion ; and, 
abandoning the field, they made the best of their way 
into the recesses of the mountains. The ground was 
covered with their slain ; but the victory was dearly 
purchased by the death of two more Spaniards and a 
long list of wounded. 

»8 Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ape 
Barcia, torn. iii. p. i8o. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. i.— Bal. 
boa, Hist, du P^rou, chap. 15. 


A council of war was then called. The position had 
lost its charm in the eyes of the Spaniards, who had 
met here with the first resistance they had yet expe- 
rienced on their expedition. It was necessary to place 
the wounded in some secure spot, where their injuries 
could be attended to. Yet it was not safe to proceed 
farther, in the crippled state of their vessel. On the 
whole, it was decided to return and report their pro- 
ceedings to the governor; and, though the magnificent 
hopes of the adventurers had not been realized, Pizarro 
trusted that enough had been done to vindicate the 
importance of the enterprise and to secure the counte- 
nance of Pedrarias for the further prosecution of it.'' 

Yet Pizarro could not make up his mind to present 
himself, in the present state of the undertaking, before 
the governor. He determined, therefore, to be set on 
shore with the principal part of his company at Chi- 
cama, a place on the main land, at a short distance 
west of Panama. From this place, which he reached 
without any further accident, he despatched the vessel, 
and in it his treasurer, Nicolas de Ribera, with the gold 
he had collected, and with instructions to lay before 
the governor a full account of his discoveries and the 
result of the expedition. 

While these events were passing, Pizarro's associate, 
Almagro, had been busily employed in fitting out an- 
other vessel for the expedition at the port of Panama. 
It was not till long after his friend's departure that he 
was prepared to follow him. With the assistance of 
Luque, he at length succeeded in equipping a small 
caravel and embarking a body of between sixty and 

»9 Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 8, cap. 11. — Xerez, ubi supra 



seventy adventurers, mostly of the lowest order of the 
colonists. He steered in the track of his comrade, 
with the intention of overtaking him as soon as possi- 
ble. By a signal previously concerted of notching the 
trees, he was able to identify the spots visited by Pizarro, 
—Puerto de Pinas, Puerto de la Hambre, Pueblo Que- 
mado, — touching successively at every point of the 
coast explored by his countrymen, though in a much 
shorter time. At the last-mentioned place he was re- 
ceived by the fierce natives with the same hostile 
demonstrations as Pizarro, though in the present en- 
counter the Indians did not venture beyond their 
defences. But the hot blood of Almagro was so exas- 
perated by this check that he assaulted the place and 
carried it sword in hand, setting fire to the outworks 
and dwellings, and driving the wretched inhabitants 
into the forests. 

His victory cost him dear. A wound from a javelin 
on the head caused an inflammation in one of his eyes, 
which, after great anguish, ended in the loss of it. Yet 
the intrepid adventurer did not hesitate to pursue his 
voyage, and, after touching at several places on the 
coast, some of which rewarded him with a considerable 
booty in gold, he reached the mouth of the Rio de San 
Juan, about the fourth degree of north latitude. He 
was Struck with the beauty of the stream, and with the 
cultivation on its borders, which were sprinkled with 
Indian cottages showing some skill in their construc- 
tion, and altogether intimating a higher civilization 
than any thing he had yet seen. 

Still his mind was filled with anxiety for the fate of 
Pizarro and his followers. No trace of them had been 


found on the coast for a long time, and it was evident 
they must have foundered at sea or made their way 
back to Panama. This last he deemed most probable ; 
as the vessel might have passed him unnoticed under 
the cover of the night or of the dense fogs that some- 
times hang over the coast. 

Impressed with this belief, he felt no heart to con- 
tinue his voyage of discovery, for which, indeed, his 
single bark, with its small complement of men, was 
altogether inadequate. He proposed, therefore, to re- 
turn without delay. On his way he touched at the Isle 
of Pearls, and there learned the result of his friend's 
expedition and the place of his present residence. He 
directed his course at once to Chicama, where the two 
cavaliers soon had the satisfaction of embracing each 
other and recounting their several exploits and escapes. 
Almagro returned even better freighted with gold than 
his confederate, and at every step of his progress he 
had collected fresh confirmation of the existence of 
some great and opulent empire in the South. The 
confidence of the two friends was much strengthened 
by their discoveries; and they unhesitatingly pledged 
themselves to one another to die rather than abandon 
the enterprise. "^ 

The best means of obtaining the levies requisite for 
so formidable an undertaking — more formidable, as it 
now appeared to them, than before — were made the 

«> Xerez, ubi supra. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Zarate, 
Conq. del Peru, loc. cit. — Balboa, Hist, du Perou, chap. 15. — Rela- 
cion del primer Descub., MS. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 8, 
cap. 13. — Levinus Apollonius, fol. 12. — Gomara, Hist, de las Ind,, 
cap. loS. 



subject of long and serious discussion. It was at 
length decided that Pizarro should remain in his pres- 
ent quarters, inconvenient and even unwholesome as 
they were rendered by the humidity of the climate and 
the pestilent swarms of insects that filled the atmos- 
phere. Almagro would pass over to Panama, lay the 
case before the governor, and secure, if possible, his 
good will towards the prosecution of the enterprise. 
If no obstacle were thrown in their way from this 
quarter, they might hope, with the assistance of Luque, 
to raise the necessary supplies ; while the results of the 
recent expedition were sufficiently encouraging to draw 
adventurers to their standard in a community which 
had a craving for excitement that gave even danger a 
charm, and which held life cheap in comparison with 

Peru. — Vol. I, 







On his arrival at Panama, Almagro found that 
events had taken a turn less favorable to his views 
than he had anticipated. Pedrarias, the governor, 
was preparing to lead an expedition in person against 
a rebellious officer in Nicaragua; and his temper, natu- 
rally not the most amiable, was still further soured by 
this defection of his lieutenant and the necessity it im- 
posed on him of a long and perilous march. When, 
therefore, Almagro appeared before him with the re- 
quest that he might be permitted to raise further levies 
to prosecute his enterprise, the governor received hira 
with obvious dissatisfaction, listened coldly to the nar- 
rative of his losses, turned an incredulous ear to his 
magnificent promises for the future, and bluntly de- 
manded an account of the lives which had been sacri- 
ficed by Pizarro's obstinacy, but which, had they been 
spared, might have stood him in good stead in his 
present expedition to Nicaragua. He positively de- 
clined to countenance the rash schemes of the two 
adventurers any longer, and the conquest of Peru 



would have been crushed in the bud, but for the 
efficient interposition of the remaining associate, Fer- 
nando de Luque. 

This sagacious ecclesiastic had received a very dif- 
ferent impression from Almagro's narrative from that 
which had been made on the mind of the irritable 
governor. The actual results of the enterprise in gold 
and silver thus far, indeed, had been small, — forming 
a mortifying contrast to the magnitude of their ex- 
pectations. But in another point of view they were of 
the last importance ; since the intelligence which the 
adventurers had gained at every successive stage of 
their progress confirmed, in the strongest manner, the 
previous accounts, received from Andagoya and others, 
of a rich Indian empire at the south, which might 
repay the trouble of conquering it as well as Mexico 
had repaid the enterprise of Cortes. Fully entering, 
therefore, into the feelings of his military associates, 
he used all his influence with the governor to incline 
him to a more favorable view of Almagro's petition ; 
and no one in the little community of Panama exer- 
cised greater influence over the councils of the executive 
than Father Luque, for which he was indebted no less 
to his discretion and acknowledged sagacity than to his 
professional station. 

But while Pedrarias, overcome by the arguments or 
importunity of the churchman, yielded a reluctant assent 
to the application, he took care to testify his displeasure 
with Pizarro, on whom he particularly charged the loss 
of his followers, by naming Almagro as his equal in 
command in the proposed expedition. This mortifi- 
cation sank deep into Pizarro's mind. He suspected 


his comrade, with what reason does not appear, of 
soliciting this boon from the governor. A temporary 
coldness arose between them, which subsided, in out- 
ward show at least, on Pizarro's reflecting that it was 
better to have this authority conferred on a friend than 
on a stranger, perhaps an enemy. But the seeds of 
permanent distrust were left in his bosom, and lay 
waiting for the due season to ripen into a fruitful har- 
vest of discord.' 

Pedrarias had been originally interested in the enter- 
prise, at least so far as to stipulate for a share of the 
gains, though he had not contributed, as it appears, a 
single ducat towards the expenses. He was at length, 
however, induced to relinquish all right to a share of 
the contingent profits. But in his manner of doing so 
he showed a mercenary spirit better becoming a petty 
trader than a high officer of the crown. He stipulated 
that the associates should secure to him the sum of one 
thousand /<fj^x de oro in requital of his good will, and 
they eagerly closed with his proposal, rather than be 
encumbered with his pretensions. For so paltry a con- 
sideration did he resign his portion of the rich spoil of 
the Incas ! " But the governor was not gifted with the 

» Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. i8o. — Montesinos, 
Annales, MS., ano 1526. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 8, cap. 

» Such is the account of Oviedo, who was present at the interview 
between the governor and Almagro when the terms of compensation 
were discussed. The dialogue, which is amusing enough, and well 
told by the old Chronicler, may be found translated in Appendix No. 
5. Another version of the affair is given in the Relacion. often quoted 
by me, of one of the Peruvian conquerors, in which Pedrarias is said 
to have gone out of the partnership voluntarily, from his disgust at 
the unpromising state of affairs: " Vueltos con la dicha gente d Pa- 



eye of a prophet. His avarice was of that short- 
sighted kind which defeats itself. He had sacrificed 
the chivalrous Balboa just as that officer was opening 
to him the conquest of Peru, and he would now have 
quenched the spirit of enterprise, that was taking the 
same direction, in Pizarro and his associates. 

Not long after this, in the following year, he was 
succeeded in his government by Don Pedro de los 
Rios, a cavalier of Cordova. It was the policy of the 
Castilian crown to allow no one of the great colonial 
officers to occupy the same station so long as to render 
himself formidable by his authority. ^ It had, more- 
over, many particular causes of disgust with Pedrarias. 
The functionary sent out to succeed him was fortified 
with ample instructions for the good of the colony, 

namd, destrozados y gastados que ya no tenian haciendas para tomar 
con provisiones y gentes que todo lo habian gastado, el dicho Pedra- 
rias de Avila les dijo, que ya el no queria mas hacer compania con 
ellos en los gastos de la armada, que si ellos querian volver a su costa, 
que lo hiciesen ; y ansi como gente que habia perdido todo lo que 
tenia y tanto habia trabajado, acordaron de tornar i. proseguir su 
Jornada y dar fin a las vidas y haciendas que les quedaba, 6 descubrir 
aquella tierra, y ciertamente ellos tubieron grande constancia y animo." 
Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 

3 This policy is noticed by the sagacious Martyr: " De mutandis 
namque plasrisque gubematoribus, ne longa nimis imperii assuetu- 
dine insolescant, cogitatur, qui prascipue non fuerint prouinciarum 
domitores, de hisce ducibus namque alia ratio ponderatur." (De 
Orbe Novo (Parisiis, 1587), p. 498.) One cannot but regret that the 
philosopher who took so keen an interest in the successive revelations 
of the different portions of the New World should have died before 
the empire of the Incas was disclosed to Europeans. He lived to 
learn and to record the wonders of 

" Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezuma; 
Not Cuzco in Peru, the richer seat of Atabalipa." 


and especially of the natives, whose religious conver- 
sion was urged as a capital object, and whose personal 
freedom was unequivocally asserted, as loyal vassals of 
the crown. It is but justice to the Spanish government 
to admit that its provisions were generally guided by a 
humane and considerate policy, which was as regularly 
frustrated by the cupidity of the colonist and the ca- 
pricious cruelty of the conqueror. The few remaining 
years of Pedrarias were spent in petty squabbles, both 
of a personal and official nature ; for he was still con- 
tinued in office, though in one of less consideration 
than that which he had hitherto filled. He survived 
but a few years, leaving behind him a reputation not 
to be envied, of one who united a pusillanimous spirit 
with uncontrollable passions, but who displayed, not- 
withstanding, a certain energy of character, or, to speak 
more correctly, an impetuosity of purpose, which might 
have led to good results had it taken a right direction. 
Unfortunately, his lack of discretion was such that the 
direction he took was rarely of service to his country 
or to himself. 

Having settled their difficulties with the governor, 
and obtained his sanction to their enterprise, the con- 
federates lost no time in making the requisite prepara- 
tions for it. Their first step was to execute the 
memorable contract which served as the basis of their 
future arrangements; and, as Pizarro's name appears 
in this, it seems probable that that chief had crossed 
over to Panama so soon as the favorable disposition of 
Pedrarias had been cecured.* The instrument, after 

* In opposition to most authorities, — but not to the judicious Quin- 
taua, — I have conforrnec^ to Montesinos, in placing the execution of 



invoking in the most solemn manner the names of the 
Holy Trinity and Our Lady the Blessed Virgin, sets 
forth that whereas the parties have full authority to 
discover and subdue the countries and provinces lying 
south of the Gulf, belonging to the empire of Peru, 
and as Fernando de Luque had advanced the funds for 
the enterprise in bars of gold of the value of twenty 
thousand pesos, they mutually bind themselves to di- 
vide equally among them the whole of the conquered 
territory. This stipulation is reiterated over and over 
again, particularly with reference to Luque, who, it is 
declared, is to be entitled to one-third of all lands, 
repartimientos, treasures of every kind, gold, silver, 
and precious stones, — to one-third even of all vassals, 
rents, and emoluments arising from such grants as may 
be conferred by the crown on either of his military 
associates, to be held for his own use, or for that of his 
heirs, assigns, or legal representative. 

The two captains solemnly engage to devote them- 
selves exclusively to the present undertaking until it 
is accomplished ; and in case of failure in their part 
of the covenant they pledge themselves to reimburse 
Luque for his advances, for which all the property 
they possess shall be held responsible, and this declara- 
tion is to be a sufficient warrant for the execution of 
judgment against them, in the same manner as if it had 
proceeded from the decree of a court of justice. 

The commanders, Pizarro and Almagro, made oath, 

the contract at the commencement of the second, instead of the first, 
expedition. This arrangement coincides with the date of the instru- 
ment itself, which, moreover, is reported in extenso by no ancient 
writer whom I have consulted except Montesinos. 


in the name of God and the Holy Evangelists, sacredly 
to keep this covenant, swearing it on the missal, on 
which they traced with their own hands the sacred 
emblem of the cross. To give still greater efficacy to 
the compact. Father Luque administered the sacrament 
to the parties,' dividing the consecrated wafer into 
three portions, of which each one of them partook; 
while the by-standers, says an historian, were affected 
to tears by this spectacle of the solemn ceremonial 
with which these men voluntarily devoted themselves 
to a sacrifice that seemed little short of insanity. ^ 

The instrument, which was dated March loth, 1526, 
was subscribed by Luque, and attested by three respect- 
able citizens of Panama, one of whom signed on be- 
half of Pizarro, and the other for Almagro ; since 
neither of these parties, according to the avowal of the 
instrument, was able to subscribe his own name.* 

Such was the singular compact by which three ob- 
scure individuals coolly carved out and partitioned 
among themselves an empire of whose extent, power, 
and resources, of whose situation, of whose existence 
even, they had no sure or precise knowledge. The 
positive and unhesitating manner in which they speak 
of the grandeur of this empire, of its stores of wealth, 
so conformable to the event, but of which they could 
have really known so little, forms a striking contrast 
with the general skepticism and indifference manifested 

5 This singular instrument is given at length by Montesinos. (Au- 
nales, MS., ano 1526.) It may be found in the original in Appendix 
No. 6. 

* Fcr some investigation of the fact, which has been disputed by 
more tlian one, of Pizarro's ignorance of the art of writing, see book 
4, chap. 5, of this History. 


by nearly every other person, high and low, in the com- 
munity of Panama.' 

The religious tone of the instrument is not the least 
remarkable feature in it, especially when we contrast 
this with the relentless policy pursued by the very men 
wlio were parties to it in their conquest of the country. 
•'In the name of the Prince of Peace," says the illus- 
trious historian of America, "they ratified a contract 
of which plunder and bloodshed were the objects." ^ 
The reflection seems reasonable. Yet, in criticising 
what is done, as well as what is written, we must take 
into account the spirit of the times.' The invocation 
of Heaven was natural, where the object of the under- 
taking was in part a religious one. Religion entered 
more or less into the theory, at least, of the Spanish 
conquests in the New World. That motives of a baser 
sort mingled largely with these higher ones, and in 
different proportions according to the character of the 
individual, no one will deny. And few are they that 
have proposed to themselves a long career of action 
without the intermixture of some vulgar personal mo- 
tive, — fame, honors, or emolument. Yet that religion 
furnishes a key to the American crusades, however 

1 The epithet of loco, or "madman," was punningly bestowed on 
Father Luque, for his spirited exertions in behalf of the enterprise: 
Padre Luque loco, says Oviedo of him, as if it were synonymous. 
Historia de las Indias Islas e Tierra Firme del Mar Oceano, MS., 
Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. i. 

* Robertson, America, vol. iii. p. 5. 

9 " A perfect judge will read each work of wit 
With the same spirit that its author writ," 
says the great bard of Reason. A fair criticism will apply the same 
rule to action as to writing, and, in the moral estimate of conduct, will 
take largely into account the spirit of the age which prompted it. 


rudely they may have been conducted, is evident from 
the history of their origin ; from the sanction openly 
given to them by the Head of the Church ; from the 
throng of self-devoted missionaries who followed in 
the track of the conquerors to garner up the rich har- 
vest of souls ; from the reiterated instructions of the 
crown, the great object of which was the conversion 
of the natives ; from those superstitious acts of the 
iron-hearted soldiery themselves, which, however they 
may be set down to fanaticism, were clearly too much 
in earnest to leave any ground for the charge of hypoc- 
risy. It was indeed a fiery cross that was borne over 
the devoted land, scathing and consuming it in its 
terrible progress ; but it was still the cross, the sign of 
man's salvation, the only sign by which generations 
and generations yet unborn were to be rescued from 
eternal perdition. 

It is a remarkable fact, which has hitherto escaped 
the notice of the historian, that Luque was not the real 
party to this contract. He represented another, who 
placed in his hands the funds required for the under- 
taking. This appears from an instrument signed by 
Luque himself and certified before the same notary 
that prepared the original contract. The instrument 
declares that the whole sum of twenty thousand peso^ 
advanced for the expedition was furnished by the Li- 
centiate Caspar de Espinosa, then at Panama ; that the 
vicar acted only as his agent and by his authority; and 
that, in consequence, the said Espinosa and no other 
was entitled to a third of all the profits and acqui- 
sitions resulting from the conquest of Peru. This 
instrument, attested by three persons, one of them the 


same who had witnessed the original contract, was 
dated on the 6th of August, 1531.'° The Licentiate 
Espinosa was a respectable functionary, who had filled 
the office of principal alcalde in Darien, and since 
taken a conspicuous part in the conquest and settle- 
ment of Tierra Firme. He enjoyed much considera- 
tion for his personal character and station ; and it is 
remarkable that so little should be known of the man- 
ner in which the covenant so solemnly made was exe- 
cuted in reference to him. As in the case of Columbus, 
it is probable that the unexpected magnitude of the 
results was such as to prevent a faithful adherence to 
the original stipulation ; and yet, from the same con- 
sideration, one can hardly doubt that the twenty thou- 
sand pesos of the 'bold speculator must have brought 
him a magnificent return. Nor did the worthy vicar 
of Panama, as the history will show hereafter, go with- 
out his reward. 

Having completed these preliminary arrangements, 
the three associates lost no time in making preparations 
for the voyage. Two vessels were purchased, larger and 
every way better than those employed on the former oc- 
casion. Stores were laid in, as experience dictated, on 
a larger scale than before, and proclamation was made 
of "an expedition to Peru." But the call was not 
readily answered by the skeptical citizens of Panama. 

" The instrument making this extraordinary disclosure is cited at 
length in a manuscript entitled Noticia general del Peru, Tierra Firme 
y Chili, by Francisco Lopez de Caravantes, a fiscal officer in these 
colonies. The MS., formerly preserved in the library of the great 
college of Cuenca at Salamanca, is now to be found in her Majesty's 
library at Madrid. The passage is extracted by Quintana, Espanoles 
c^lebres, torn. ii. Apend. No. 2, nota. 



Of nearly two hundred men who had embarked on 
the former cruise, not more tlian three-fourths now 
remained." This dismal mortality, and the emaciated, 
poverty-stricken aspect of the survivors, spoke more 
eloquently than the braggart promises and magnificent 
prospects held out by the adventurers. Still, there 
were men in the community of such desperate circum- 
stances that any change seemed like a chance of bet- 
tering their condition. Most of the former company 
also, strange to say, felt more pleased to follow up the 
adventure to the end than to abandon it as they saw 
the light of a better day dawning upon them. From 
these sources the two captains succeeded in iiiustering 
about one hundred and sixty men, making altogether 
a very inadequate force for the conquest of an empire. 
A {tw horses were also purchased, and a better supply 
q{ ammunition and military stores than before, though 
still on a very limited scale. Considering their funds, 
the only way of accounting for this must be by the 
difficulty of obtaining supplies at Panama, which, re- 
cently founded, and on the remote coast of the Pacific, 
could be approached only by crossing the rugged bar- 
rier of mountains, which made the transportation of 
bulky articles extremely difficult. Even such scanty 
stock of materials as it possessed was probably laid 
under heavy contribution, at the present juncture, by 
the governor's preparations for his own expedition to 
the north. 

" " Con ciento i diez Hombres sali6 de Panamk, i fue donde estaba 
el Capitan Pi9arro con otros cinquenta de los primeros ciento i diez, 
que con ^1 salieron, i de los setenta, que el Capitan Almagro llevd, 
quando le fue k buscar, que los ciento i treinta ik eran muertos." Xerez, 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. lii. p. 180. 



Thus indifferently provided, the two captains, each 
in his own vessel, again took their departure from 
Panama, under the direction of Bartholomew Ruiz, a 
sagacious and resolute pilot, well experienced in the 
navigation of the Southern Ocean. He was a native 
of Moguer, in Andalusia, that little nursery of nautical 
enterprise, which furnished so many seamen for the first 
voyages of Columbus. Without touching at the inter- 
vening points of the coast, which offered no attraction 
to the voyagers, they stood farther out to sea, steering 
direct for the Rio de San Juan, the utmost limit reached 
by Almagro. The season was better selected than on 
the former occasion, and they were borne along by 
favorable breezes to the place of their destination, 
which they reached without accident in a few days. 
Entering the mouth of the river, they saw the banks 
well lined with Indian habitations; and Pizarro, dis- 
embarking at the head of a party of soldiers, succeeded 
in surprising a small village and carrying off a consid- 
erable booty of gold ornaments found in the dwellings, 
together with a few of the natives." 

Flushed with their success, the two chiefs were con- 
fident that the sight of the rich spoil so speedily 
obtained could not fail to draw adventurers to their 
standard in Panama ; and, as they felt more than ever 
the necessity of a stronger force to cope with the 
thickening population of the country which they were 
now to penetrate, it was decided that Almagro should 
return with the treasure and beat up for reinforcements, 

" Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. pp. 180, 181. — 
Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap, 
I.— Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 8, cap. 13. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — l 21 



while the pilot Ruiz, in the other vessel, should recon- 
noitre the country towards the south, and obtain such 
information as might determine their future movements. 
Pizarro, with the rest of the force, would remain in the 
neighborhood of the river, as he was assured by the 
Indian prisoners that not far off in the interior was an 
open reach of country, where he and his men could 
find comfortable quarters. This arrangement was in- 
stantly put in execution. We will first accompany the 
intrepid pilot in his cruise towards the south. 

Coasting along the great continent, with his canvas 
still spread to favorable winds, the first place at which 
Ruiz cast anchor was off the little island of Gallo, 
about two degrees north. The inhabitants, who were 
not numerous, were prepared to give him a hostile re- 
ception ; for tidings of the invaders had preceded them 
along the country, and even reached this insulated spot. 
As the object of Ruiz was to explore, not to conquer, 
he did not care to entangle himself in hostilities with 
the natives : so, changing his purpose of landing, he 
weighed anchor, and ran down the coast as far as what 
is now called the Bay of St. Matthew. The country, 
which, as he advanced, continued to exhibit evidence 
of a better culture as well as of a more dense popula- 
tion than the parts hitherto seen, was crowded, along 
the shores, with spectators, who gave no signs of fear 
or hostility. They stood gazing on the vessel of the 
white men as it glided smoothly into the crystal waters 
of the bay, fancying it, says an old writer, some mys- 
terious being descended from the skies. 

Without staying long enough on this friendly coast 
to undeceive the simple people, Ruiz, standing off 



shore, struck out into the deep sea ; but he had not 
sailed far in that direction when he was surprised by 
the sight of a vessel, seeming in the distance like a 
caravel of considerable size, traversed by a large sail 
that carried it sluggishly over the waters. The old 
navigator was not a little perplexed by this phenome- 
non, as he was confident no European bark could have 
been before him in these latitudes, and no Indian nation 
yet discovered, not even the civilized Mexican, was 
acquainted with the use of sails in navigation. As he 
drew near, he found it was a large vessel, or rather raft, 
called balsa by the natives, consisting of a number of 
huge timbers of a light, porous wood, tightly lashed 
together, with a frail flooring of reeds raised on them 
by way of deck. Two masts or sturdy poles, erected 
in the middle of the vessel, sustained a large square- 
sail of cotton, while a rude kind of rudder and a mov- 
able keel, made of plank inserted between the logs, 
enabled the mariner to give a direction to the floating 
fabric, which held on its course without the aid of oar 
or paddle. '3 The simple architecture of this craft was 
sufficient for the purposes of the natives, and indeed 
has continued to answer them to the present day ; for 
the balsa, surmounted by small thatched huts or cabins, 
still supplies the most commodious means for the trans- 
portation of passengers and luggage on the streams and 
along the shores of this part of the South American 

*3 " Traia sus manteles y antenas de muy fina madera y velas de algo- 
don del mismo talle de manera que los nuestros navios." Relacion 
de los primeros Descubrimientos de F. Pizarro y Diego de Alniagro, 
safiada del Codice No. 120 de la Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, MS. 



On coming alongside, Ruiz found several Indians, 
both men and women, on board, some with rich orna- 
ments on their persons, besides several articles wrought 
with considerable skill in gold and silver, which they 
were carrying for purposes of traffic to the different 
places along the coast. But what most attracted his 
attention was the woollen cloth of which some of their 
dresses were made. It was of a fine texture, delicately 
embroidered with figures of birds and flowers, and 
dyed in brilliant colors. He also observed in the boat 
a pair of balances made to weigh the precious metals.'* 
His astonishment at these proofs of ingenuity and 
civilization, so much higher than any thing he had ever 
seen in the country, was heightened by the intelligence 
which he collected from some of these Indians. Two 
of them had come from Tumbez, a Peruvian port, some 
degrees to the south ; and they gave him to understand 
that in their neighborhood the fields were covered with 
large flocks of the animals from which the wool was 
obtained, and that gold and silver were almost as com- 
mon as wood in the palaces of their monarch. The 
Spaniards listened greedily to reports which harmo- 

" In a short notice of this expedition, written apparently at the time 
of it >r soon after, a minute specification is given of tlie several articles 
founf* in the balsa; among them are mentioned vases and mirrors of 
burnished silver, and curious fabrics both cotton and woollen : " Espe- 
jos guamecidos de la dicha plata, y tasas y otras vasijas para bcbei, 
trahian muchas mantas de lana y de algodon, y camisas y aljubas y 
alca9eres y alaremes, y otras muchas ropas, todo lo mas de elio muy 
labrado de labores muy ricas de colores de gjana y carmisi y azul y 
am.'irillo, y de todas otras colores de diversas maneras de labores y 
^guras de aves y animales, y Pescados, y arbolesas y trahian unos pesos 
■jhiquitos de pesar oro como hechura de Romana, y otras muchas 
bosas." Relacion sacada de la Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, MS. 


nized so well with their fond desires. Though half 
distrusting the exaggeration, Ruiz resolved to detain 
some of the Indians, including the natives of Tumbez, 
that they might repeat the wondrous tale to his com- 
mander, and at the same time, by learning the Cas- 
tilian, might hereafter serve as interpreters with their 
countrymen. The rest of the party he suffered to pro- 
ceed without further interruption on their voyage. 
Then, holding on his course, the prudent pilot, with- 
out touching at any other point of the coast, advanced 
as far as the Punta de Pasado, about half a degree 
south, having the glory of being the first European 
who, sailing in this direction on the Pacific, had crossed 
the equinoctial line. This was the limit of his dis- 
coveries ; on reaching which he tacked about, and, 
standing away to the north, succeeded, after an ab- 
sence of several weeks, in regaining the spot where he 
had left Pizarro and his comrades. '^ 

It was high time ; for the spirits of that little band 
had been sorely tried by the perils they had encoun- 
tered. On the departure of his vessels, Pizarro marched 
into the interior, in the hope of finding the pleasant 
champaign country which had been promised him by 
the natives. But at every step the forests seemed to 
grow denser and darker, and the trees towered to a 

>s Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 181. — Relacion 
sacada de la Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, MS. — Herrera, Hist, 
general, dec. 3, lib. 8, cap. 13. — One of the authorities speaks of his 
having been si.xty days on this cruise. I regret not to be able to give 
precise dates of the events in these early expeditions. But chronology 
is a thing beneath the notice of these ancient chroniclers, who seem 
to think that the date of events so fresh in their own memory must 
be so in that of every one else. 


height such as he had never seen, even in these fruitful 
regions, where Nature works on so gigantic a scale.'* 
Hill continued to rise above hill, as he advanced, 
rolling onward, as it were, by successive waves to join 
that colossal barrier of the Andes, whose frosty sides, 
far away above the clouds, spread out like a curtain of 
burnished silver, that seemed to connect the heavens 
with the earth. 

On crossing these woody eminences, the forlorn ad- 
venturers would plunge into ravines of frightful depth, 
where the exhalations of a humid soil steamed up 
amidst the incense of sweet-scented flowers, which 
shone through the deep gloom in every conceivable 
variety of color. Birds, especially of the parrot tribe, 
mocked this fantastic variety of nature with tints as 
brilliant as those of the vegetable world. Monkeys 
chattered in crowds above their heads, and made 
grimaces like the fiendish spirits of these solitudes; 
while hideous reptiles, engendered in the slimy depths 
of the pools, gathered round the footsteps of the wan- 
derers. Here was seen the gigantic boa, coiling his 
unwieldy folds about the trees, so as hardly to be dis- 
tinguished from their trunks, till he was ready to dart 
upon his prey; and alligators lay basking on the bor- 
ders of the streams, or, gliding under the waters, seized 
their incautious victim before he was aware of their ap- 
proach.'^ Many of the Spaniards perished miserably 
in this way, and others were waylaid by the natives, 
who kept a jealous eye on their movements and availed 

«' " Todo era montafias, con arboles hasta el cielo !" Herrera, Hist 
general, ubi supra. 
'7 Ibid., ubi supra. 


themselves of every opportunity to take them at ad- 
vantage. Fourteen of Pizarro's men were cut off at 
once in a canoe which had stranded on the bank of a 

Famine came in addition to other troubles, and it 
was with difficulty that they found the means of sus- 
taining life on the scanty fare of the forest, — occasion- 
ally the potato, as, it grew without cultivation, or the 
wild cocoanut, or, on the shore, the salt and bitter 
fruit of the mangrove ; though the shore was less toler- 
able than the forest, from the swarms of mosquitos 
which compelled the wretched adventurers to bury their 
bodies up to their very faces in the sand. In this ex- 
tremity of suffering, they thought only of return ; and 
all schemes of avarice and ambition — except with 
Pizarro and a few dauntless spirits — were exchanged 
for the one craving desire to return to Panama. 

It was at this crisis that the pilot Ruiz returned 
with the report of his brilliant discoveries ; and, not 
long after, Almagro sailed into port with his vessel 
laden with provisions and a considerable reinforce- 
ment of volunteers. The voyage of that commander 
had been prosperous. When he arrived at Panama, he 
found the government in the hands of Don Pedro de 
los Rios ; and he came to anchor in the harbor, un- 
willing to trust himself on shore till he had obtained 
from Father Luque some account of the dispositions 
of the executive. These were sufficiently favorable ; 
for the new governor had particular instructions fully 
to carry out the arrangements made by his predecessor 

»8 Herrera, loc. cit. — Gomara, Hist, de las Ind.,cap. 108. — Naharro, 
Relacion sumaria, MS. 


with the associates. On learning Almagro's arrival, he 
came down to the port to welcome him, professing his 
willingness to afford every facility for the execution of 
his designs. Fortunately, just before this period a 
small body of military adventurers had come to Panama 
from the mother-country, burning with desire to make 
their fortunes in the New World. They caught much 
more eagerly than the old and wary colonists at the 
golden bait held out to them; and with their addition, 
and that of a few supernumerary stragglers who hung 
about the town, Almagro found himself at the head of 
a reinforcement of at least eighty men, with which, 
having laid in a fresh supply of stores,. he again set sail 
for the Rio de San Juan. 

The arrival of the new recruits all eager to follow 
up the expedition, the comfortable change in their 
circumstances produced by an ample supply of pro- 
visions, and the glowing pictures of the wealth that 
awaited them in the south, all had their effect on the 
dejected spirits of Pizarro's followers. Their late toils 
and privations were speedily forgotten, and, with the 
buoyant and variable feelings incident to a freebooter's 
life, they now called as eagerly on their commander to 
go forward in the voyage as they had before called on 
him to abandon it. Availing themselves of the re- 
newed spirit of enterprise, the captains embarked on 
board their vessels, and, under the guidance of the 
veteran pilot, steered in the same track he had lately 

But the favorable season for a southern course, which 
in these latitudes lasts but a few months in the year, 
had been suffered to escape. The breezes blew steadily 



towards the north, and a strong current, not far from 
shore, set in the same direction. The winds frequently 
rose into tempests, and the unfortunate voyagers were 
tossed about, for many days, in the boiling surges, 
amidst the most awful storms of thunder and lightning, 
until at length they found a secure haven in the island 
of Gallo, already visited by Ruiz. As they were now 
too strong in numbers to apprehend an assault, the 
crews landed, and, experiencing no molestation from 
the natives, they continued on the island for a fort- 
night, refitting their damaged vessels, and recruiting 
themselves after the fatigues of the ocean. Then, re- 
suming their voyage, the captains stood towards the 
south until they reached the bay of St. Matthew. As 
they advanced along the coast, they were struck, as 
Ruiz had been before, with the evidences of a higher 
civilization constantly exhibited in the general aspect 
of the country and its inhabitants. The hand of cul- 
tivation was visible in every quarter. The natural 
appearance of the coast, too, had something in it more 
inviting ; for instead of the eternal labyrinth of man- 
grove-trees, with their complicated roots snarled into 
formidable coils under the water, as if to waylay and 
entangle the voyager, the low margin of the sea was 
covered with a stately growth of ebony, and with a 
species of mahogany, and other hard woods that take 
the most brilliant and variegated polish. The sandal- 
wood, and many balsamic trees of unknown names, 
scattered their sweet odors far and wide, not in an 
atmosphere tainted with vegetable corruption, but on 
the pure breezes of the ocean, bearing health as well 
as fragrance on their wings. Broad patches of culti- 



vated land intervened, disclosing hill-sides covered 
with the yellow maize and the potato, or checkered, in 
the lower levels, with blooming plantations of cacao.'' 
The villages became more numerous ; and, as the 
vessels rode at anchor off the port of Tacamez, the 
Spaniards saw before them a town of two thousand 
houses or more, laid out into streets, with a numerous 
population clustering around it in the suburbs."^ The 
men and women displayed many ornaments of gold 
and precious stones about their persons, which may 
seem strange, considering that the Peruvian Incas 
claimed a monopoly of jewels for themselves and the 
nobles on whom they condescended to bestow them. 
But, although the Spaniards had now reached the outer 
limits of the Peruvian empire, it was not Peru, but 
Quito, and that portion of it but recently brought 
under the sceptre of the Incas, where the ancient 
usages of the people could hardly have been effaced 
under the oppressive system of the American despots. 
The adjacent country was, moreover, particularly rich 
in gold, which, collected from the washings of the 
streams, still forms one of the staple products of Barba- 
coas. Here, too, was the fair River of Emeralds, so 
called from the quarries of the beautiful gem on its 

»9 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 181. — Relaciou 
sacada de la Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, MS. — Naharro, Relacion 
sumaria, MS. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1526. — Zarate, Conq. 
del Peru, lib. i, cap. I. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 

»o Pizarro's secretary speaks of one of the towns as containing 3000 
houses: "En esta Tierra havia muchos Mantenimientos, i la Gente 
tenia mui buena orden de vivir, los Pueblos con sus Calles, i Pla9as : 
Pueblo Iiavia que tenia mas de tres mil Casas, i otros havia menores." 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 181. 



borders, from which the Indian monarchs enriched 
their treasury." 

The Spaniards gazed with delight on these undenia- 
ble evidences of wealth, and saw in the careful cultiva- 
tion of the soil a comfortable assurance that they had 
at length reached the land which had so long been seen 
in brilliant, though distant, perspective before them. 
But here again they were doomed to be disappointed by 
the warlike spirit of the people, who, conscious of their 
own strength, showed no disposition to quail before 
the invaders. On the contrary, several of their canoes 
shot out, loaded with warriors, who, displaying a gold 
mask as their ensign, hovered round the vessels with 
looks of defiance, and, when pursued, easily took shelter 
under the lee of the land." 

A more formidable body mustered along the shore, 
to the number, according to the Spanish accounts, of 
at least ten thousand warriors, eager, apparently, to 
come to close action with the invaders. Nor could 

" Stevenson, who visited this part of the coast early in the present 
century, is profuse in his description of its mineral and vegetable 
treasures. The emerald-mine in the neighborhood of Las Esme- 
raldas, once so famous, is now placed under the ban of a superstition 
more befitting the times of the Incas. " I never visited it," says the 
traveller, " owing to the superstitious dread of the natives who assured 
me that it was enchanted, and guarded by an enormous dragon, which 
poured forth thunder and lightning on those who dared *a ascend the 
river." Residence in South America, vol. ii. p. 406. 

" " Salieron d los dichos navios quatorce canoa-s grandes con mu- 
chos Indios dos armados de oro y plata, y trahian en la una canoa 6 
en estandarte y encima de el un bolto de un mucho desio de oro, y 
dieron una suelta d los navios por avisarlos en manera que no los pu- 
diese enojar, y asi dieron vuelta acia d su pueblo, y los navios no los 
pudieron tomar porque se metieron en los baxos junto d la tierra." 
Rela'.jon sacada de la Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, MS. 



Pizarro, who had landed with a party of his men in the 
hope of a conference with the natives, wholly prevent 
hostilities; and it might have gone hard with the Span- 
iards, hotly pressed by their resolute enemy so superior 
in numbers, but for a ludicrous accident reported by 
the historians as happening to one of the cavaliers. 
This was a fall from his horse, which so astonished the 
barbarians, who were not prepared for this division of 
what seemed one and the same being into two, that, 
filled with consternation, they fell back, and left a way 
open for the Christians to regain their vessels ! '^ 

A council of war was now called. It was evident 
that the forces of the Spaniards were unequal to a 
contest with so numerous and well-appointed a body 
of natives; and, even if they should prevail here, they 
could have no hope of stemming the torrent which 
must rise against them in their progress, — for the 
country was becoming more and more thickly settled, 
and towns and hamlets started into view at every new 
headland which they doubled. It was better, in the 
opinion of some, — the faint-hearted, — to abandon the 
enterprise at once, as beyond their strength. But Al- 
magro took a different view of the affair. "To go 

=3 "Al tiempo del romper los unos con los otros, uno de aqucUos 
de caballo cayo del caballo abajo; y como los Indies \-ieron dividirse 
aquel animal en dos partes, teniendo por cierto que todo era una cosa, 
fue tanto el miedo que tubieron que voh-ieron las espaldas dando voces 
i. los suyos, diciendo, que se habia hecho dos hacicndo admiracion 
dello : lo cual no fue sin misterio ; porque d no acaecer esto se pre- 
sume, que mataran todos los cristianos." (Relacion del primer De- 
scub., MS.) This way of accounting for the panic of the barbarians 
is certainly quite as credible as the explanation, under similar circum- 
stances, afforded by the apparition of the militant aposde St. James, 
so often noticed by the historians of these wars. 



home," he said, "with nothing done, would be ruin, 
as well as disgrace. There was scarcely one but had 
left creditors at Panama, who looked for payment to 
the fruits of this expedition. To go home now would 
be to deliver themselves at once into their hands. It 
would be to go to prison. Better to roam a freeman, 
though in the wilderness, than to lie bound with fetters 
in the dungeons of Panama. ='• The only course for 
them," he concluded, "was the one lately pursued. 
Pizarro might find some more commodious place where 
he could remain with part of the force while he him- 
self went back for recruits to Panama. The story they 
had now to tell of the riches of the land, as they had 
seen them with their own eyes, would put their expe- 
dition in a very different light, and could not fail 
to draw to their banner as many volunteers as they 

But this recommendation, however judicious, was 
not altogether to the taste of the latter commander, 
who did not relish the part, which constantly fell to 
him, of remaining behind in the swamps and forests 
of this wild country. "It is all very well," he said 
to Almagro, "for you, who pass your time pleasantly 
enough, careering to and fro in your vessel, or snugly 
sheltered in a land of plenty at Panama; but it is quite 
another matter for those who stay behind to droop and 
die of hunger in the wilderness." ^^ To this Almagro 

** "No era bien bolver pobres, d pedir limosna, i morir en las Car- 
celes, los que tenian deudas." Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 10, 
cap. 2. 

"5 " Como iba, i v(;nia en los Navios, adonde no le faltaba Vitualla, 
no padecia la miseria de la hambre, i otras angustias que tenian, i 
Peru. — Vol. I. 22 



retorted with some heat, professing his own willingness 
to take charge of the brave men who would remain 
with him, if Pizarro declined it. The controversy 
assuming a more angry and menacing tone, from words 
they would have soon come to blows, as both, laying 
their hands on their swords, were preparing to rush on 
each other, when the treasurer Ribera, aided by the 
pilot Ruiz, succeeded in pacifying them. It required 
but little effort on the part of these cooler counsellors 
to convince the cavaliers of the folly of a conduct 
which must at once terminate the expedition in a man- 
ner little creditable to its projectors. A reconciliation 
consequently took place, sufficient, at least in outward 
show, to allow^ the two commanders to act together in 
concert. Almagro's plan was then adopted; and it 
only remained to find out the most secure and con- 
venient spot for Pizarro's quarters. 

Several days were passed in touching at different parts 
of the coast, as they retraced their course; but every- 
where the natives appeared to have caught the alarm, 
and assumed a menacing, and from their numbers a 
formidable, aspect. The more northerly region, with 
its unwholesome fens and forests, where nature wages a 

ponian i. todos en estrema congoja." (Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 
3, lib. lo, cap. 2.) The cavaliers of Cortes and Pizarro, however 
doughty their achievements, certainly fell short of those knights-errant, 
commemorated by Hudibras, who, 

" As some think. 
Of old did neither eat nor drink; 
Because, when thorough deserts vast 
And regions desolate they past. 
Unless they grazed, there's not one word 
Of their provision on record ; 
Which made some confidently write. 
They had no stomachs but to fight." 


war even more relentless than man, was not to be 
thought of. In this perplexity, they decided on the 
little island of Gallo, as being, on the whole, from its 
distance from the shore, and from the scantiness of its 
population, the most eligible spot for them in their 
forlorn and destitute condition.^' 

But no sooner was the resolution of the two captains 
made known than a feeling of discontent broke forth 
among their followers, especially those who were to 
remain with Pizarro on the island. "What!" they 
exclaimed, "were they to be dragged to that obscure 
spot to die by hunger? The whole expedition had 
been a cheat and a failure, from beginning to end. 
The golden countries, so much vaunted, had seemed to 
fly before them as they advanced ; and the little gold 
they had been fortunate enough to glean had all been 
sent back to Panama to entice other fools to follow 
their example. What had they got in return for all 
their sufferings ? The only treasures they could boast 
were their bows and arrows, and they were now to be 
left to die on this dreary island, without so much as a 
rood of consecrated ground to lay their bones in!"^^ 

=* Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Relacion sacada de la 
Biblioteca Imperial de Vienna, MS. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. 
— Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. i. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, 
lib. 10, cap. 2. — It was singularly unfortunate that Pizarro, instead of 
striking farther south, should have so long clung to the northern shores 
of the continent. Dampier notices them as afBicted with incessant 
rain; while the inhospitable forests and the particularly ferocious char- 
acter of the natives continued to make these regions but little known 
down to his time. See his Voyages and Adventures (London, 1776), 
vol. i. chap. 14. 

*7 " Miserablemente morir adonde aun no havia lugar Sagrado,para 
-epultura de sus cuerpos." Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3., lib. 10, cap. 3. 


In this exasperated state of feeling, several of the 
soldiers wrote back to their friends, informing them 
of their deplorable condition, and complaining of the 
cold-blooded manner in which they were to be sacri- 
ficed to the obstinate cupidity of their leaders. But 
the latter were wary enough to anticipate this move- 
ment, and Almagro defeated it by seizing all the letters 
in the vessels and thus cutting off at once the means 
of communication with their friends at home. Yet 
this act of unscrupulous violence, like most other simi- 
lar acts, fell short of its purpose; for a soldier named 
Sarabia had the ingenuity to evade it by introducing a 
letter into a ball of cotton, which was to be taken to 
Panama as a specimen of the products of the country 
and presented to the governor's lady.^^ 

The letter, which was signed by several of the dis- 
affected soldiery besides the writer, painted in gloomy 
colors the miseries of their condition, accused the two 
commanders of being the authors of this, and called 
on the authorities at Panama to interfere by sending a 
vessel to take them from the desolate spot while some 
of them might still be found surviving the horrors of 
their confinement. The epistle concluded with a stanza, 
in which the two leaders were stigmatized as partners 
in a slaughter-house, — one being employed to drive in 
the cattle for the other to butcher. The verses, which 
had a currency in their day among the colonists to 

=8 " Metieron en un ovillo de algodon una carta firmada de muchos 
en que sumariamente daban cuenta de las hambres, muertes y desnu- 
dez que padecian, y que era cosa de risa todo, pues las riquezas se 
habian convertido en flechas, y no havia otra cosa." Montesinos, 
Annales, MS., aiio 1527. 


which they were certainly not entitled by their poet- 
ical merits, may be thus rendered into corresponding 
doggerel : 

" Look out, Senor Governor, 
For the drover while he's near; 
Since he goes home to get the sheep 
For the butcher, who stays here."^ 

*9 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 181. — Naharro, Re- 
lacion sumaria, MS. — Balboa, Hist, du Perou, chap. 15. — " Al fin do 
la peticion que hacian en la carta al Governador puso Juan de Sara> 
bia, natural de Trujillo, esta cuarteta : 

Pues Senor Gobernador, 
Mirelo bien por entero 
que alia va el recogedor, 
y aca queda el carnicero." 
Montesinos, Annales, MS., aiio 1527. 







Not long after Almagro's departure, Pizarro sent off 
the remaining vessel, under the pretext of its being put 
in repair at Panama. It probably relieved him of a part 
of his followers, whose mutinous spirit made them an 
obstacle rather than a help in his forlorn condition, 
and with whom he was the more willing to part from 
the difficulty of finding subsistence on the barren spot 
which he now occupied. 

Great was the dismay occasioned by the return of 
Almagro and his followers ^u the little community of 
Panama; for the letter surreptitiously conveyed in the 
ball of cotton fell into the hands for which it was in- 
tended, and the contents soon got abroad, with the 
usual quantity of exaggeration. The haggard and de- 
jected mien of the adventurers, of itself, told a tale 
sufificiently disheartening, and it was soon generally 
believed that the few ill-fated survivors of the expe- 
dition were detained against their will by Pizarro, to 
end their days with their disappointed leader on his 
desolate island. 

Pedro de los Rios, the governor, was so much in- 


censed at the result of the expedition, and the waste 
of life it had occasioned to the colony, that he turned 
a deaf ear to all the applications of Luque and Al- 
magro for further countenance in the affair; he derided 
their sanguine anticipations of the future, and finally 
resolved to send an officer to the isle of Gallo, with 
orders to bring back every Spaniard whom he should 
find still living in that dreary abode. Two vessels 
were immediately despatched for the purpose, and 
placed under charge of a cavalier named Tafur, a 
native of Cordova. 

Meanwhile, Pizarro and his followers were experi- 
encing all the miseries which might have been expected 
from the character of the»barren spot on which they 
were imprisoned. They were, indeed, relieved from 
all apprehensions of the natives, since these had quitted 
the island on its occupation by the white men ; but they 
had to endure the pains of hunger even in a greater 
degree than they had formerly experienced in the wild 
woods of the neighboring continent. Their principal 
food was crabs and such shell-fish as they could scantily 
pick up along the shores. Incessant storms of thunder 
and lightning, for it was the rainy season, swept over 
the devoted island and drenched them with a perpetual 
flood. Thus, half naked, and pining with famine, there 
were few in that little company who did not feel the 
spirit of enterprise quenched within them, or who 
looked for any happier termination of their difficulties 
than that afforded by a return to Panama. The ap- 
pearance of Tafur, therefore, with his two vessels, well 
stored with provisions, was greeted with all the rapture 
that the crew of a sinking wreck might feel on the 


arrival of some unexpected succor ; and the only 
thought, after satisfying the immediate cravings of 
hunger, was to embark and* leave the detested isle 

But by the same vessel letters came to Pizarro from 
his two confederates, Luque and Almagro, beseeching 
him not to despair in his present extremity, but to 
hold fast to his original purpose. To return under the 
present circumstances would be to seal the- fate of the 
expedition ; and they solemnly engaged, if he would 
remain firm at his post, to furnish him in a short time 
with the necessary means for going forward.' 

A ray of hope was enough for the courageous spirit 
of Pizarro. It does not appear that he himself had 
entertained, at any time, thoughts of returning. If he 
had, these words of encouragement entirely banished 
them from his bosom, and he prepared to stand the 
fortune of the cast on which he had so desperately 
ventured. He knew, however, that solicitations or re- 
monstrances would avail little with the companions of 
his enterprise ; and he probably did not care to win 
over the more timid spirits who, by perpetually looking 
back, would only be a clog on his future movements. 
He announced his own purpose, however, in a laconic 
but decided manner, characteristic of a man more ac- 
customed to act than to talk, and well calculated to 
make an impression on his rough followers. 

Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it on the 

» Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 182. — Zarate, Conq. 
del Peru, lib. i, cap. 2. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1527. — Her- 
rera. Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 3. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, 


sand from east to west. Tlien, turning towards the 
south, "Friends and comrades!" he said, "on that 
side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching st^'-m, 
desertion, and death ; on this side, ease and pleasure. 
There lies Peru with its riches ; here, Panama and its 
poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a 
brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south." 
So saying, he stepped across the line.'' He was followed 
by the brave pilot Ruiz ; next by Pedro de Candia, a 
cavalier, born, as his name imports, in one of the isles 
of Greece. Eleven others successively crossed the 
line, thus intimating their willingness to abide the for- 
tunes of their leader, for good or for evil.^ Fame, to 
quote the enthusiastic language of an ancient chroni- 
cler, has commemorated the names of this little band, 
"who thus, in the face of difficulties unexampled in 
history, with death rather than riches for their reward, 

* " Obedeciola Pizarro y antes que se egecutase saco un Punal, y 
con notable animo hizo con la punta una raya de Oriente i. Poniente; 
y senalando al medio dia, que era la parte de su iioticia, y derrotero 
dijo ; Camaradas y amigos, esta parte es la de la muerte, de los trabajos, 
de las hambres, de la desnudez, de los aguaceros, y desamparos ; la otra 
la del gusto: Por aqui se ba d Panama a ser pobres, per alia al Peru 
k ser ricos. Escoja el que fuere buen Castellano lo que mas bien le 
estubiere. Diciendo esto paso la raya: siguieronle Barthome Ruiz 
natural de Moguer, Pedro de Candi Griego, natural de Candia." Mon- 
tesinos, Annales, MS., aiio 1527. 

3 The names of these thirteen faithful companions are preserved in 
the convention made with the crown two years later, where they are 
suitably commemorated for their loyalty. Their names should not be 
omitted in a history of the Conquest of Peru. They were " Bartolome 
Ruiz, Cristoval de Peralta, Pedro de Candia, Domingo de Soria Luce, 
Nicolas de Ribera, Francisco de Cuellar, Alonso de Molina, Pedro 
Alcon, Garcia de Jerez, Anton de Carrion, Alonso Briceno, Martin de 
Paz, Joan de la Torre." 


preferred it all to abandoning their honor, and stood 
firm by their leader as an example of loyalty to future 
ages." ■♦ 

But the act excited no such admiration in the mind 
of Tafur, who looked on it as one of gross disobedi- 
ence to the commands of the governor, and as little 
better than madness, involving the certain destruction 
of the parties engaged in it. He refused to give any 
sanction to it himself by leaving one of his vessels with 
the adventurers to prosecute their voyage, and it was 
with great difficulty that he could be persuaded even 
to allow them a part of the stores which he had brought 
for their support. This had no influence on their de- 
termination, and the little party, bidding adieu to their 
returning comrades, remained unshaken in their purpose 
of abiding the fortunes of their commander. ^ 

There is something striking to the imagination in the 
spectacle of these few brave spirits thus consecrating 
themselves to a daring enterprise, which seemed as far 
above their strength as any recorded in the fabulous 
annals of knight-errantry. A handful of men, without 
food, without clothing, almost without arms, without 
knowledge of the land to which they were bound, 
without vessel to transport them, were here left on a 

4 " Estos fueron los trece de la fama. Estos los que cercados de 
los mayores trabajos que pudo el Mundo ofrecer i hombres, y los que 
estando mas para esperar la muerte que las riquezas que se les pro- 
metian, todo lo pospusieron d la honra, y siguieron i su capitan y 
caudillo para egemplo de lealtad en lo future." Montesinos, Annales, 
MS., ano 1527. 

5 Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i.cap. 2. — Montesinos, Annales, MS. 
ano 1527. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Herrera, Hist, general 
dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 3. 


lonely rock in the ocean with the avowed purpose of 
carrying on a crusade against a powerful empire, stak- 
ing their lives on its success. What is there in the 
legends of chivalry that surpasses it? This was the 
crisis of Pizarro's fate. There are moments in the lives 
of men, which, as they are seized or neglected, decide 
their future destiny.* Had Pizarro faltered from his 
strong purpose, and yielded to the occasion, now so 
temptingly presented, for extricating himself and his 
broken band from their desperate position, his name 
would have been buried with his fortunes, and the con- 
quest of Peru would have been left for other and more 
successful adventurers. But his constancy was equal 
to the occasion, and his conduct here proved him com- 
petent to the perilous post he had assumed, and inspired 
others with a confidence in him which was the best 
assurance of success. 

In the vessel that bore back Tafur and those who 
seceded from the expedition the pilot Ruiz was also 
permitted to return, in order to co-operate with Luque 
and Almagro in their application for further succor. 

Not long after the departure of the ships, it was de- 

' This common sentiment is expressed with uncommon beauty by 
the fanciful Boiardo, where he represents Rinaldo as catching Fortune, 
under the guise of the fickle fairy Morgana, by the forelock. The 
Italian reader may not be displeased to refresh his memory with it: 
" Chi cerca in questo mondo aver tesoro, 
O diletto, e piacere, honore, e stato, 
Ponga la mano a questa chioma d' oro, 
Ch' io porto in fronte, e lo far6 beato ; 
Ma quando ha in destro si fatto lavoro 
Non prenda indugio, che '1 tempo passato 
Perduto e tutto, e non riloma mai, 
Ed io mi volto, e lui lascio con guai." 

Orlando Innamorato, lib. 2, canto 8. 


cided by Pizarro to abandon his present quarters, which 
had little to recommend them, and which, he reflected, 
might now be exposed to annoyance from the original 
inhabitants, should they take courage and return on 
learning the diminished number of the white men. 
The Spaniards, therefore, by his orders, constructed a 
rude boat or raft, on which they succeeded in trans- 
porting themselves to the little island of Gorgona, 
Iwenty-five leagues to the north of their present resi- 
dence. It lay about five leagues from the continent, 
and was uninhabited. It had some advantages over 
the isle of Gallo ; for it stood higher above the sea, 
and was partially covered with wood, which afforded 
shelter to a species of pheasant, and the hare or rabbit 
of the country, so that the Spaniards, with their cross- 
bows, were enabled to procure a tolerable supply of 
game. Cool streams that issued from the living rock 
furnished abundance of water, though the drenching 
rains that fell without intermission left them in no 
danger of perishing by thirst. From this annoyance 
they found some protection in the rude huts which they 
constructed ; though here, as in their former residence, 
they suffered from the no less intolerable annoyance 
of venomous insects, which multiplied and swarmed in 
the exhalations of the rank and stimulated soil. In 
this dreary abode Pizarro omitted no means by which 
to sustain the drooping spirits of his men. Morning 
prayers were duly said, and the evening hymn to the 
Virgin was regularly chanted ; the festivals of the 
Church were carefully commemorated, and every means 
taken by their commander to give a kind of religious 
character to his enterprise, and to inspire his rough 


followers with a confidence in the protection of 
Heaven, that might support them in their perilous 

In these uncomfortable quarters, their chief employ- 
ment was to keep watch on the melancholy ocean, that 
they might hail the first signal of the anticipated succor. 
But many a tedious month passed away, and no sign of 
it appeared. All around was the same wide waste of 
^•aters, except to the eastward, where the frozen crest 
of the Andes, touched with the ardent sun of the 
equator, glowed like a ridge of fire along the whole 
extent of the great continent. Every speck in the 
distant horizon was carefully noticed, and the drifting 
timber or masses of sea-weed, heaving to and fro on 
the bosom of the waters, was converted by their imagi- 
nations into the promised vessel ; till, sinking under 
successive disappointments, hope gradually gave way 
to doubt, and doubt settled into despair.^ 

Meanwhile the vessel of Tafur had reached the port 
of Panama. The tidings which she brought of the in- 
flexible obstinacy of Pizarro and his followers filled the 
governor with indignation. He could look on it in no 
other light than as an act of suicide, and steadily re- 
fused to send further assistance to men who were obsti- 
nately bent on their own destruction. Yet Luque and 
Almagro were true to their engagements. They repre- 

1 " Cada Manana daban gracias d Dios: i. las tardes decian la Salve, 
i otras Oraciones, por las Horas: sabian las Fiestas, i tenian cuenta con 
los Yiemes, i Domingos." Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 10, 
cap. 3. 

* " A\ cabo de niuchos Dias aguard.ando, estaban tan angustiados, 
que los salages, que se hacian bien deniro de la Mar, les parecia, que 
era el Na\-io." Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 4. 
Peru. — Vol. I — M 23 


sented to the governor that, if the conduct of their 
comrade was rash, it was at least in the service of the 
crown and in prosecuting the great work of discovery. 
Rios had been instructed, on his taking the govern- 
ment, to aid Pizarro in the enterprise ; and to desert 
him now would be to throw away the remaining chance 
of success, and to incur the responsibility of his death 
and that of the brave men who adhered to him. These 
remonstrances, at length, so far operated on the mind 
of that functionary that he reluctantly consented that 
a vessel should be sent to the island of Gorgona, but 
with no more hands than were necessary to work her, 
and with positive instructions to Pizarro to return in 
six months and report himself at Panama, whatever 
might be the future results of his expedition. 

Having thus secured the sanction of the executive, 
the two associates lost no time in fitting out a small 
vessel with stores and a supply of arms and ammuni- 
tion, and despatched it to the island. The unfortunate 
tenants of this little wilderness, who had now occupied 
it for seven months,' hardly dared to trust their senses 
when they descried the white sails of the friendly bark 
coming over the waters. And although, when the 
vessel anchored off the shore, Pizarro was disappointed 
to find that it brought no additional recruits for the 
enterprise, yet he greeted it with joy, as affording the 
means of solving the great problem of the existence 
of the rich southern empire, and of thus opening the 
way for its future conquest. Two of his men were so 
ill that it was determined to leave them in the care of 

9 " Kstubieron con estos trabajos con igualdad de animo siete 
raescs." Montesinos, Annales, MS., aiio 1527. 


some of the friendly Indians who had continued with 
him through the whole of his sojourn, and to call foi 
them on his return. Taking with him the rest of his 
hardy followers and the natives of Tumbez, he em- 
barked, and, speedily weighing anchor, bade adieu to 
the ''Hell," as it was called by the Spaniards, which 
had been the scene of so much suffering and such un- 
daunted resolution." 

Every heart was now elated with hope, as they found 
themselves once more on the waters, under the guidance 
of the good pilot Ruiz, who, obeying the directions of 
the Indians, proposed to steer for the land of Tumbez, 
which would bring them at once into the golden empire 
of the Incas, — the El Dorado of which they had been 
so long in pursuit. Passing by the dreary isle of Gallo, 
which they had such good cause to remember, they 
stood farther out to sea until they made Point Tacu- 
mez, near which they had landed on their previous 
voyage. They did not touch at any part of the coast, 
but steadily held on their way, though considerably 
impeded by the currents, as well as by the wind, which 
blew with little variation from the south. Fortunately, 
the wind was light, and, as the weather was favorable, 
their voyage, though slow, was not uncomfortable. In 
a few days they came in sight of Point Pasado, the 
limit of the pilot's former navigation ; and, crossing 
the line, the little bark entered upon those unknown 
seas which had never been ploughed by European keel 

"> Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 182. — Montesinos, 
Annales, MS., ano 1527. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Herrera, 
Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 4. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., 


before. The coast, they observed, gradually declined 
from its former bold and rugged character, gently 
sloping towards the shore, and spreading out into 
sandy plains, relieved here and there by patches of 
uncommon richness and beauty ; while the white cot- 
tages of the natives glistening along the margin of the 
sea, and the smoke that rose among the distant hills, 
intimated the increasing population of the country. 

At length, after the lapse of twenty days from their 
departure from the island, the adventurous vessel 
rounded the point of St. Helena and glided smoothly 
into the waters of the beautiful gulf of Guayaquil. 
The country was here studded along the shore with 
towns and villages, though the mighty chain of the 
Cordilleras, sweeping up abruptly from the coast, left 
but a narrow strip of emerald verdure, through which 
numerous rivulets, spreading fertility around them, 
wound their way to the sea. 

The voyagers were now abreast of some of the most 
stupendous heights of this magnificent range; Chim- 
borazo, with its broad round summit, towering like the 
dome of the Andes, and Cotopaxi, with its dazzling 
cone of silvery white, that knows no change except from 
the action of its own volcanic fires; for this mountain is 
the most terrible of the American volcanoes, and was 
in formidable activity at no great distance from the 
period of our narrative. Well pleased with the signs 
of civilization that opened on them at every league of 
their progress, the Spaniards at length came to anchor, 
off the island of Santa Clara, lying at the entrance of 
'he bay of Tumbez." 
" According to Garcilasso, two years elapsed between the departure 


The place was uninhabited, but was recognized by 
the Indians on board as occasionally resorted to by the 
warlike people of the neighboring island of Puna for 
purposes of sacrifice and worship. The Spaniards 
found on the spot a few bits of gold rudely wrought 
into various shapes, and probably designed as offerings 
to the Indian deity. Their hearts were cheered, as the 
natives assured them they would see abundance of the 
same precious metal in their own city of Tumbez. 

The following morning they stood across the bay for 
this place. As they drew near, they beheld a town of 
considerable size, with many of the buildings appar- 
ently of stone and plaster, situated in the bosom of a 
fruitful meadow, which seemed to have been redeemed 
from the sterility of the surrounding country by care- 
ful and minute irrigation. When at some distance 
from shore, Pizarro saw standing towards him several 
large balsas, which were found to be filled with war- 
riors going on an expedition against the island of 
Puna. Running alongside of the Indian flotilla, he 
invited some of the chiefs to come on board of his 
vessel. The Peruvians gazed with wonder on every 
object which met their eyes, and especially on their 
own countrymen, whom they had little expected to 
meet there. The latter informed them in what manner 
they had fallen into the hands of the strangers, whom 
they described as a wonderful race of beings, that had 

from Gorgona and the arrival at Tumbez. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 
I, cap. II.) Such gross defiance of chronology is rather uncommon 
even in the narratives of these transactions, where it is as difficult to 
fix a precise date, amidst the silence, rather than the contradictions, 
of contemporary statements, as if the events had happened before the 




come thither for no harm, but solely to be made ac- 
quainted with the country and its inhabitants. This 
account was confirmed by the Sj)anish commander, 
who persuaded the Indians to return in their balsas 
and report what they had learned to their townsmen, 
requesting them at the same time to provide his vessel 
with refreshments, as it was his desire to enter into 
friendly intercourse with the natives. 

The people of Tumbez were gathered along the 
shore, and were gazing with unutterable amazement 
on the floating castle, which, now having dropped 
anchor, rode lazily at its moorings in their bay. They 
eagerly listened to the accounts of their countrymen, 
and instantly reported the affair to the curaca or ruler 
of the district, who, conceiving that the strangers must 
be beings of a superior order, prepared at once to 
comply with their request. It was not long before 
several balsas were seen steering for the vessel, laden 
with bananas, plantains, yuca, Indian corn, sweet po- 
tatoes, pine-apples, cocoanuts, and other rich products 
of the bountiful vale of Tumbez. Game and fish, 
also, were added, with a number of llamas, of which 
Pizarro had seen the rude drawings belonging to Bal- 
boa, but of which till now he had met with no living 
specimen. He examined this curious animal, the Pe- 
ruvian sheep, — or, as the Spaniards called it, the "little 
camel" of the Indians, — with much interest, greatly 
admiring the mixture of wool and hair which supplied 
the natives with the materials for their fabrics. 

At that time there happened to be at Tumbez an 
Inca noble, or orejon, — for so, as I have already no- 
ticed, mer of his rank were called by the Spaniards, 


from the huge ornaments of gold attached to their 
,ears. He expressed great curiosity to see the wonder- 
ful strangers, and had, accordingly, come out with the 
balsas for the purpose. It was easy to perceive from 
the superior quality of his dress, as well as from the 
deference paid to him by the others, that he was a per- 
son of consideration ; and Pizarro received him witii 
marked distinction. He showed him the different 
parts of the ship, explaining to him the uses of what- 
ever engaged his attention, and answ^ering his numer- 
ous queries, as well as he could, by means of the Indian 
interpreters. The Peruvian chief was especially desir- 
ous of knowing whence and why Pizarro and his fol- 
lowers had come to these shores. The Spanish captain 
replied that he v/as the vassal of a great prince, the 
greatest and most powerful in the world, and that he 
had come to this country to assert his master's lawful 
sup7-emacy over it. He had further come to rescue the 
inhabitants from the darkness of unbelief in which 
they were now wandering. They worshipped an evil 
spirit, who would sink their souls into everlasting per- 
dition ; and he would give them the knowledge of the 
true and only God, Jesus Christ, since to believe in 
Him was eternal salvation." 

The Indian prince listened with deep attention and 
apparent wonder, but answered nothing. It may be 
that neither he nor his interpreters had any very dis- 

" The text abridges somewhat the discourse of the militarj^ po- 
lemic; which is reported at length by Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, 
lib. 10, cap. 4. — See also Montesinos, Annales, MS., aiio 1527. — 
Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS.— Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS.— Re- 
lacion del primer Descub., MS. 


tinct ideas of the doctrines thus abruptly revealed to 
them. It may be that he did not believe there was 
any other potentate on earth greater than the Inca; 
none, at least, who had a better right to rule over his 
dominions. And it is very possible he was not dis- 
posed to admit that the great luminary whom he wor- 
shipped was inferior to the God of the Spaniards. But 
whatever may have passed in the untutored mind of 
the barbarian, he did not give vent to it, but main- 
tained a discreet silence, without any attempt to con- 
trovert or to convince his Christian antagonist. 

He remained on board the vessel till the hour of 
dinner, of which he partook with the Spaniards, ex- 
pressing his satisfaction at the strange dishes, and 
especially pleased with the wine, which he pronounced 
far superior to the fermented liquors of his own coun- 
try. On taking leave, he courteously pressed the 
Spaniards to visit Tumbez, and Pizarro dismissed him 
with the present, among other things, of an iron 
hatchet, which had greatly excited his admiration; for 
the use of iron, as we have seen, was as little known to 
the Peruvians as to the Mexicans. 

On the day following, the Spanish captain sent one 
of his own men, named Alonso de Molina, on shore, 
accompanied by a negro who had come in the vessel 
from Panama, together with a present for the curaca 
of some swine and poultry, neither of which were in- 
digenous to the New World. Towards evening his 
emissary returned with a fresh supply of fruits and 
vegetables, that the friendly people sent to the vessel. 
Molina had a wondrous tale to tell. On landing, he 
was surrounded by the natives, who expressed the 



greatest astonishment at his dress, his fair complexion, 
and his long beard. The women, especially, mani- 
fested great curiosity in respect to him, and Molina 
seemed to be entirely won by their charms and capti- 
vating manners. He probably intimated his satisfac- 
tion by his demeanor, since they urged him to stay 
among them, promising in that case to provide him 
with a beautiful wife. 

Their surprise was equally great at the complexion 
of his sable companion. They could not believe it 
was natural, and tried to rub off the imaginary dye 
with their hands. As the African bore all this with 
characteristic good humor, displaying at the same time 
his rows of ivory teeth, they were prodigiously de- 
lighted. '^ The animals were no less above their com- 
prehension ; and, when the cock crew, the simple 
people clapped their hands and inquired what he was 
saying.'* Their intellects were so bewildered by sights 
so novel that they seemed incapable of distinguishing 
between man and brute. 

Molina was then escorted to the residence of the 
curaca, whom he found living in much state, with por- 
ters stationed at his doors, and with a quantity of gold 
and silver vessels, from which he was served. He was 
then taken to different parts of the Indian city, and saw 
a fortress built of rough stone, and, though low, spread- 
mg over a large extent of ground. 's Near this was a 

'3 "No se cansaban de mirarle, hacianle labar, para v^r si se le qui- 
taba la Tinta negra, i h\ lo hacia de buena gana, riendose, i mostrando 
sus Dientes blancos." Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 5. 

'•♦ Ibid., ubi supra. 

'5 " Cerca del solia estar una fortaleza muy fuerte y de linda obra, 
lieiha por los Yngis reyes del Cuzco y senores de todo el Peru. . . 


temple ; and the Spaniard's description of its decora- 
tions, blazing with gold and silver, seemed so extrava- 
gant that Pizarro, distrusting his whole account, re- 
solved to send a more discreet and trustworthy emissary 
on the following day.'® 

The person selected was Pedro de Candia, the Greek 
cavalier mentioned as one of the first who intimated 
his intention to share the fortunes of his commander. 
He was sent on shore, dressed in complete mail, as 
became a good knight, with his sword by his side, and 
his arquebuse on his shoulder. The Indians were even 
more dazzled by his appearance than by Molina's, as 
the sun fell brightly on his polished armor and glanced 
from his military weapons. They had heard much of 
the formidable arquebuse from their townsmen who had 
come in the vessel, and they besought Candia "to let 
it speak to them." He accordingly set up a wooden 
board as a target, and, taking deliberate aim, fired off 
the musket. The flash of the powder and the startling 
report of the piece, as the board, struck by the ball, 
was shivered into splinters, filled the natives with dis- 
may. Some fell on the ground, covering their faces 
with their hands, and others approached the cavalier 
with feelings of awe, which were gradually dispelled 
by the assurance they received from the smiling expres- 
sion of his countenance.'' 

Ya esta el edificio desta fortaleza tnuy gastado y deshecho : mas no 
para que dexe de dar muestra de lo mucho que fue." Cieza de Leon, 
Cronica, cap. 4. 

'* Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. — Herrera, Hist, general, loc. cit. — 
Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 2. 

'7 It is moreover stated that the Indians, desirous to prove still 
further the superhuman nature of the Spanish cavalier, let loose o» 


They then showed him the same hospitable atten- 
tions which they had paid to Molina; and his de- 
scription of the marvels of the place, on his return, 
fell nothing short of his predecessor's. The fortress, 
which was surrounded by a triple row of wall, was 
strongly garrisoned. The temple he described as lit- tapestried with plates of gold and silver. Ad- 
joining this structure was a sort of convent appropri- 
ated to the Inca's destined brides, who manifested 
great curiosity to see him. Whether this was gratified 
is not clear; but Candia described the gardens of the 
convent, which he entered, as glowing with imitations 
of fruits and vegetables all in pure gold and silver.'' 
He had seen a number of artisans at work, whose sole 
business seemed to be to furnish these gorgeous deco- 
rations for the religious houses. 

him a tiger — a jaguar probabl)' — which was caged in the royal fortress. 
But Don Pedro was a good Catholic, and he gently laid the cross which 
he wore round his neck on the animal's back, who. instantly forgetting 
his ferocious nature, crouched at the cavalier's feet and began to play 
round him in innocent gambols. The Indians, now more amazed 
than ever, nothing doubted of the sanctity of their guest, and bore 
him in triumph on their shoulders to the temple. This credible anec- 
dote is repeated, without the least qualification or distrust, by several 
contemporary writers. (See Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Her- 
rera, Hist, general, dec. 3, lib. 10, cap. 5. — Cieza de Leon, Cronica, 
cap. 54. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. i, cap. 12.) This last 
author may have had his version from Candia's own son, with whom 
he tells us he was brought up at school. It will no doubt find as easy 
admission with those of the present day who conceive that the age of 
miracles has not yet passed. 

»8 " Que habia visto un jardin donde las yerbas eran de oro imitando 
en un todo a las naturales, arboles con frutas de lo mismo, y otras 
muchas cosas i este modo, con que aficiono grandemente i. sus com- 
paneros d esta conquista." Montesinos, Annales, ano 1527. 


The reports of the cavalier may have been somewhat 
overcolored." It was natural that men coming from 
the dreary wilderness in which they had been buried 
the last six months should have been vividly impressed 
by the tokens of civilization which met them on the 
Peruvian coast. But Tumbez was a favorite city of 
the Peruvian princes. It was the most important place 
on the northern borders of the empire, contiguous to 
the recent acquisition of Quito. The great Tupac 
Yupanqui had established a strong fortress there, and 
peopled it with a colony of mitiriiaes. The temple, 
and the house occupied by the Virgins of the Sun, 
had been erected by Huayna Capac, and were liberally 
endowed by that Inca, after the sumptuous fashion of 
the religious establishments of Peru. The town was 
well supplied with water by numerous aqueducts ; and 
the fruitful valley in which it was embosomed, and the 
ocean which bathed its shores, supplied ample means 
of subsistence to a considerable population. But the 
cupidity of the Spaniards, after the Conquest, was not 
slow in despoiling the place of its glories; and the 
site of its proud towers and temples, in less than half a 

»9 The worthy knight's account does not seem to have found favor 
with the old Conqueror, so often cited in these pages, who says that, 
when they after\vards visited Tumbez, the Spnniards found Candia's 
relation a lie from beginning to end, except, indeed, in respect to the 
temple ; though the veteran acknowledges that what was deficient in 
Tumbez was more than made up by the magnificence of other places 
in the empire not then visited. " Lo cual fue mentira; porque despues 
que todos los Espanoles entramos en ella, se vio por vista de ojos ha- 
ber mentido en todo, salvo en lo del templo, que este era cosa de ver, 
aunque mucho mas de lo que aquel encarecio, lo que falto en esta 
ciudad, se hall6 despues en otras que muchas leguas mas adelante se 
descubrieron." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 



century after that fatal period, was to be traced only by 
the huge mass of ruins that encumbered the ground." 

The Spaniards were nearly mad with joy, says an 
old writer, at receiving these brilliant tidings of the 
Peruvian city. All their fond dreams were now to be 
realized, and they had at length reached the realm 
which had so long flitted in visionary splendor before 
them. Pizarro expressed his gratitude to Heaven for 
having crowned his labors with so glorious a result; 
but he bitterly lamented the hard fate which, by de- 
priving him of his followers, denied him, at such a 
moment, the means of availing himself of his success. 
Yet he had no cause for lamentation ; and the devout 
Catholic saw in this very circumstance a providential 
interposition which prevented the attempt at conquest 
while such attempts would have been premature. Peru 
was not yet torn asimder by the dissensions of rival can- 
didates for the throne; and, united and strong under 
the sceptre of a warlike monarch, she might well have 
bid defiance to all the forces that Pizarro could mus- 
ter. "It was manifestly the work of Heaven," ex- 
claims a devout son of the Church, "that the natives 
of the country should have received him in so kind and 
loving a spirit as best fitted to facilitate the conquest; 
for it was the Lord's hand which led him and his fol- 
lowers to this remote region for the extension of the 
holy faith, and for the salvation of souls."" 

^ Cieza de Leon, who crossed this part of the country in 1548, men- 
tions the wanton manner in which the hand of the Conqueror had 
fallen on the Indian edifices, which lay in ruins even at that early 
period. Cronica, cap. 67. 

" " I si le recibiesen con amor, hiciese su Mrd. lo que mas conve- 
niente le pareciese al efecto de su conquista : porque tenia entf.ndido, 
Peru. — Vol. I. — 24 


Having now collected all the information essential 
to his object, Pizarro, after taking leave of the natives 
of Tumbez and promising a speedy return, weighed 
anchor, and again turned his prow towards the south. 
Still keeping as near as possible to the coast, that no 
place of importance might escape his observation, he 
jjassed Cape Blanco, and, after sailing about a degree 
and a half, made the port of Payta. The inhabitants, 
who had notice of his approach, came out in their 
balsas to get sight of the wonderful strangers, bringing 
with them stores of fruits, fish, and vegetables, with 
the same hospitable spirit shown by their countrymen 
at Tumbez. 

After staying here a short time, and interchanging 
presents of trifling value with the natives, Pizarro con- 
tinued his cruise; and, sailing by the sandy plains 
of Sechura for an extent of near a hundred miles, he 
doubled the Punta de Aguja, and swept down the coast 
as it fell off towards the east, still carried forward by 
light and somewhat variable breezes. The weather 
now became unfavorable, and the voyagers encountered 
a succession of heavy gales, which drove them some 
distance out to sea and tossed them about for many 
days. But they did not lose sight of the mighty ranges 
of the Andes, which, as they proceeded towards the 
south, were still seen, at nearly the same distance from 
the shore, rolling onwards, peak after peak, with their 
stupendous surges of ice, like some vast ocean that had 
been suddenly arrested and frozen up in the midst of 
its wild and tumultuous career. With this landmark 

que el haverlos traido Dios er£ para que su santa ik se dilatase i 
aquellas almas se salvasen." Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. 



always in view, the navigator had little need of star or 
compass to guide his bark on her course. 

As soon as the tempest had subsided, Pizarro stood 
in again for the continent, touching at the principal 
points as he coasted along. Everywhere he was re- 
ceived with the same spirit of generous hospitality, 
the natives coming out in their balsas to welcome him, 
laden with their little cargoes of fruits and vegetables, 
of all the luscious varieties that grow in the tierra 
caliente. All were eager to have a glimpse of the 
strangers, the "Children of the Sun," as the Span- 
iards began already to be called, from their fair com- 
plexions, brilliant armor, and the thunderbolts which 
they bore in their hands." The most favorable re- 
ports, too, had preceded them, of the urbanity and 
gentleness of their manners, thus unlocking the hearts 
of the simple natives and disposing them to confidence 
and kindness. The iron-hearted soldier had not yet 
disclosed the darker side of his character. He was 
too weak to do so. The hour of conquest had not yet 

In every place Pizarro received the same accounts of 
a powerful monarch who ruled over the land, and held 
his court on the mountain plains of the interior, where 
his capital was depicted as blazing with gold and silver 
and displaying all the profusion of an Oriental satrap. 
The Spaniards, except at Tumbez, seem to have met 
with little of the precious metals among the natives 
on the coast. More than one writer asserts that they 
did not covet them, or at least, by Pizarro's orders, 

** " Que resplandecian como el Sol. Llamabanles hijos del Sol per 
esto." Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1528. 


affected not to do so. He would not have them betray 
their appetite for gold, and actually refused gifts when 
they were proffered ! ^ It is more probable that they 
saw little display of wealth, except in the embellish- 
ments of the temples and other sacred buildings, which 
they did not dare to violate. The precious metals, re- 
served for the uses of religion and for persons of high 
degree, were not likely to abound in the remote towns 
and hamlets on the coast. 

Yet the Spaniards met with sufficient evidence of 
general civilization and power to convince them that 
there was much foundation for the reports of the 
natives. Repeatedly they saw structures of stone 
and plaster, occasionally showing architectural skill in 
the execution, if not elegance of design. Wherever 
they cast anchor, they beheld green patches of culti- 
vated country redeemed from the sterility of nature 
and blooming with the variegated vegetation of the 
tropics; while a refined system of irrigation, by means 
of aqueducts and canals, seemed to be spread like a 
net-work over the surface of the country, making even 
the desert to blossom as the rose. At many places 
where they landed they saw the great road of the 
Incas which traversed the sea-coast, often, indeed, lost 
in the volatile sands, where no road could be main- 
tained, but rising into a broad and substantial cause- 
way as it emerged on a firmer soil. Such a provision 

»3 Pizarro wished the natives to understand, says Father Naharro, 
that their good alone, and not the love of gold, had led him to their 
distant land ! " Sin haver querido recibir el oro, plata i perlas que les 
ofrecieron, a fin de que conociesen no era codicia, sino deseo de su 
bien el que les habia traido de tan lejas tierras d las suyas." Relacion 
sumaria, MS. 


for internal communication was in itself no slight 
monument of power and civilization. 

Still beating to the south, Pizarro passed the site of 
the future flourishing city of Truxillo, founded by him- 
self some years later, and pressed on till he rode off the 
port of Santa. It stood on the banks of a broad and 
beautiful stream ; but the surrounding country was so 
exceedingly arid that it was frequently selected as a 
burial-place by the Peruvians, who found the soil most 
favorable for the preservation of their mummies. So 
numerous, indeed, were the Indian huacas that the 
place might rather be called the abode of the dead 
than of the living.^* 

Having reached this point, about the ninth degree 
of southern latitude, Pizarro's followers besought him 
not to prosecute the voyage farther. Enough and 
more than enough had been done, they said, to prove 
the existence and actual position of the great Indian 
empire of which they had so long been in search. 
Yet, with their slender force, they had no power to 
profit by the discovery. All that remained, therefore, 
was to return and report the success of their enter- 
prise to the governor at Panama. Pizarro acquiesced 
in the reasonableness of this demand. He had now 
penetrated nine degrees farther than any former navi- 
gator in these southern seas, and, instead of the blight 

*♦ " Lo que mas me admiro, quando passe por este va)!e; fue ver la 
muchedumbre que tienen de sepolturas : y que por todas las sierras y 
secadales en los altos del valle ay numero grande de apartados, lie- 
chos a su usan9a, todo cubiertas de huessos de muertos. De manera 
que lo que ay en este valle mas que ver, es las sepolturas de los 
muertos, y los campos que labraron siendo vivos." Cieza de Leon, 
Cronica, cap. 70. 



which, up to this hour, had seemed to hang over his 
fortunes, he could now return in triumph to his coun- 
trymen. Without hesitation, therefore, he prepared 
to retrace his course, and stood again towards the 

On his way he touched at several places where he 
had before landed. At one of these, called by the 
Spaniards Santa Cruz, he had been invited on shore 
by an Indian woman of rank, and had promised to 
visit her on his return. No sooner did his vessel cast 
anchor off the village where she lived, than she came 
on board, followed by a numerous train of attendants. 
Pizarro received her with every mark of respect, and 
on her departure presented her with some trinkets 
which had a real value in the eyes of an Indian prin- 
cess. She urged the Spanish commander and his com- 
panions to return the visit, engaging to send a number 
of hostages on board as security for their good treat- 
ment. Pizarro assured her that the frank confidence 
she had shown towards them proved that this was un- 
necessary. Yet no sooner did he put off in his boat, 
the following day, to go on shore, than several of the 
principal persons in the place came alongside of the 
ship to be received as hostages during the absence of 
the Spaniards, — a singular proof of consideration for 
the sensitive apprehensions of her guests. 

Pizarro found that preparations had been made for 
his reception in a style of simple hospitality that 
evinced some degree of taste. Arbors were formed 
of luxuriant and wide-spreading branches, interwoven 
with fragrant flowers and shrubs that diffused a de- 
licious perfume through the air. A banquet was pro- 


vided,. teeming with viands prepared in the style of 
the Peruvian cookery, and with fruits and vegetables 
of tempting hue and luscious to the taste, though their 
names and nature were unknown to the Spaniards. 
After the collation was ended, the guests were enter- 
tained with music and dancing by a troop of young 
men and maidens simply attired, who exhibited in 
their favorite national amusement all the agility and 
grace which the supple limbs of the Peruvian Indians 
so well qualified them to display. Before his depart- 
ure, Pizarro stated to his kind host the motives of his 
visit to the country, in the same manner as he had 
done on other occasions, and he concluded by unfurl- 
ing the royal banner of Castile, which he had brought 
on shore, requesting her and her attendants to raise it 
in token of their allegiance to his sovereign. This 
they did with great good humor, laughing all the 
while, says the chronicler, and making it clear that 
they had a very imperfect conception of the serious 
nature of the ceremony. Pizarro was contented with 
this outward display of loyalty, and returned to his 
vessel well satisfied with the entertainment he had re- 
ceived, and meditating, it may be, on the best mode 
of repaying it, hereafter, by the subjugation and con- 
version of the country. 

The Spanish commander did not omit to touch also 
at Tumbez on his homeward voyage. Here some of 
his followers, won by the comfortable aspect of the 
place and the manners of the people, intimated a wish 
to remain, conceiving, no doubt, that it would be bet- 
ter to live where they would be persons of consequence 
than to return to an obscure condition in the com- 


munity of Panama. One of these men was Alonso de 
Molina, the same who had first gone on shore at this 
place and been captivated by the charms of the Indian 
beauties. Pizarro complied with their wishes, thinking 
it would not be amiss to find, on his return, some of 
his own followers who would be instructed in the lan- 
guage and usages of the natives. He was also allowed 
to carry back in his vessel two or three Peruvians, for 
the similar purpose of instructing them in the Castilian. 
One of them, a youth named by the Spaniards Feli- 
pillo, plays a part of some importance in the history 
of subsequent events. 

On leaving Tumbez, the adventurers steered directly 
for Panama, touching only, on their way, at the ill- 
fated island of Gorgona, to take on board their two 
companions who were left there too ill to proceed with 
them. One had died ; and, receiving the other, Pizarro 
and his gallant little band continued their voyage, and, 
after an absence of at least eighteen months, found 
themselves once more safely riding at anchor in the 
harbor of Panama. ^^ 

The sensation caused by their arrival was great, as 
might have been expected. For there were few, even 
among the most sanguine of their friends, who did not 
imagine that they had long since paid for their te- 
merity, and fallen victims to the climate or the natives, 
or miserably perished in a watery grave. Their joy 
was proportionably great, therefore, as they saw the 

^ Conq. i Pob. del Pirn. MS. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., aiio 1528. 
— Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., 
MS. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 4, lib. 2, cap. 6, 7. — Relacion dd 
primer Descub., MS. 


wanderers novv returned, not only in health and safety, 
but with certain tidings of the fair countries which had 
so long eluded their grasp. It was a moment of proud 
satisfaction to the three associates, who, in spite of 
obloquy, derision, and every impediment which the 
distrust of friends or the coldness of government could 
throw in their way, had persevered in their great enter- 
prise until they had established the truth of what had 
been so generally denounced as a chimera. It is the 
misfortune of those daring spirits who conceive an idea 
too vast for their own generation to comprehend, or, 
at least, to attempt to carry out, that they pass for 
visionary dreamers. Such had been the fate of Luque 
and his associates. The existence of a rich Indian em- 
pire at the south, which in their minds, dwelling long 
on the same idea and alive to all the arguments in its 
favor, had risen to the certainty of conviction, had 
been derided by the rest of their countrymen as a mere 
viirage of the fancy, which, on nearer approach, would 
melt into air ; while the projectors who staked their 
fortunes on the adventure were denounced as madmen. 
But their hour of triumph, their slow and hard-earned 
triumph, had now arrived. 

Yet the governor, Pedro de los Rios, did not seem, 
even at this moment, to be possessed with a conviction 
of the magnitude of the discovery, — or perhaps he was 
discouraged by its very magnitude. When the associ- 
ates now with more confidence applied to him for 
patronage in an undertaking too vast for their individ- 
ual resources, he coldly replied, " He had no desire to 
build up other states at the expense of his own ; nor 
would he be led to throw away more lives than had 


already been sacrificed by the cheap display of gold 
and silver toys and a few Indian sheep!" °* 

Sorely disheartened by this repulse from the only 
quarter whence effectual aid could be expected, the 
confederates, without funds, and with credit nearly 
exhausted by their past efforts, were perplexed in the 
extreme. Yet to stop now, — what was it but to aban- 
don the rich mine which their own industry and perse- 
verance had laid open, for others to work at pleasure? 
In this extremity the fruitful mind of Luque suggested 
the only expedient by which they could hope for suc- 
cess. This was to apply to the crown itself. No one 
was so much interested in the result of the expedition. 
It was for the government, indeed, that discoveries 
were to be made, that the country was to be conquered. 
The government alone was competent to provide the 
requisite means, and was likely to take a much broader 
and more liberal view of the matter than a petty colo- 
nial officer. 

But who was there qualified to take charge of this 
delicate mission? Luque was chained by his profes- 
sional duties to Panama; and his associates, unlettered 
soldiers, were much better fitted for the business of 
the camp than of the court. Almagro, blunt, though 
somewhat swelling and ostentatious in his address, with 
a diminutive stature and a countenance naturally plain, 
now much disfigured by the loss of an eye, was not so 
well qualified for the mission as his companion in arms, 

=* " No entendia de despoblar su Governacicn, para que se fuesen 
^ poblar nue\as Tierras, muriendo en tal demanda mas Gentc de la 
que havid muerto, cebando k los Hombres con la muestra de las 
Ovejas, Oro, i Plata, que havian traido." Herrera, Hist, general, dec 
4, lib. 3, cap. I. 


who, possessing a good person and altogether a com- 
manding presence, was plausible, and, with all his de- 
fects of education, could, where deeply interested, be 
even eloquent in discourse. The ecclesiastic, however, 
suggested that the negotiation should be committed to 
the Licentiate Corral, a respectable functionary, then 
about to return on some public business to the mother- 
country. But to this Almagro strongly objected. No 
one, he said, could conduct the affair so well as the 
party interested in it. He had a high opinion of 
Pizarro's prudence, his discernment of character, and 
his cool, deliberate policy. ^^ He knew enough of his 
comrade to have confidence that his presence of mind 
would not desert him even in the new, and therefore 
embarrassing, circumstances in which he would be 
placed at court. No one, he said, could tell the story 
of their adventures with such effect as the man who 
had been the chief actor in them. No one could so 
well paint the unparalleled sufferings and sacrifices 
which they had encountered ; no other could tell so 
forcibly what had been done, what yet remained to 
do, and what assistance would be necessary to carry 
it into execution. He concluded, with characteristic 
frankness, by strongly urging his confederate to under- 
take the mission. 

Pizarro felt the force of Almagro's reasoning, and, 
though with undisguised reluctance, acquiesced in a 
measure which was less to his taste than an expedition 
to the wilderness. But Luque came into the arrange- 

'^ " E por pura importunacion de Almagro cupole d Pizarro, porqu» 
siempre Almagro le tubo respeto, k deseo honrarle." Oviedo, Hist 
de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. i. 


ment with more difificulty. "God grant, my chil- 
dren," exclaimed the ecclesiastic, "that one of you 
may not defraud the other of his blessing !" ^'^ Pi- 
zarrf engaged to consult the interests of his associates 
equally with his own. But Luque, it is clear, did not 
trust Pizarro. 

There was some difficulty in raising the funds neces- 
sary for putting the envoy in condition to make a 
suitable appearance at court ; so low had the credit 
of the confederates fallen, and so little confidence was 
yet placed in the result of their splendid discoveries. 
Fifteen hundred ducats were at length raised ; and 
Pizarro, in the spring of 1528, bade adieu to Panama, 
accompanied by Pedro de Candia.°9 He took with 
him, also, some of the natives, as well as two or three 
llamas, various nice fabrics of cloth, with many orna- 
ments and vases of gold and silver, as specimens of 
the civilization of the country, and vouchers for his 
wonderful story. 

=8 " Plegue k Dios, Hijos, que no os hurteis la bendicion el uno al 
otro que )'o todavia holgaria, que k lo menos fuerades enlrambos." 
Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 4, lib. 3, cap. i. 

=9 " Juntaronle mil y quinientos pesos de oro, que dio de buena vo- 
luntad D" Fernando de Luque." Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1528. 

Of all the writers on ancient Peruvian history, no one has acquired 
so wide celebrity, or been so largely referred to by later compilers, as 
tlie Inca Garcilasso de la Vega. He was born in Cuzco, in 1540, and 
was a rnesfizo, that is, of mi.xed descent, his father being European 
and his mother Indian. His father, Garcilasso de la Vega, was one 
of that illustrious family whose achievements, both in arms and letters, 
shed suvjh lustre over the proudest period of the Castilian annals. He 
came to Peru, in the suite of Pedro de Alvarado, soon after the country 


Lad been gained by Pizarro. Garcilasso attached himself to the for- 
tunes of this chief, and, after his death, to those of his brother Gon- 
ralo, — remaining constant to the latter, through his rebellion, up to 
the hour of his rout at Xaquixaguana, when Garcilasso took the same 
course with most of his faction, and passed over to the enemy. But 
this demonstration of loyalty, though it saved his life, was too late to 
redeem his credit with the victorious party ; and the obloquy which 
he incurred by his share in the rebellion threw a cloud over his sub- 
sequent fortunes, and even over those of his son, as it appears, in 

The historian's mother was of the Peruvian blood royal. She was 
niece of Huayna Capac, and granddaughter of the renowned Tupac 
Inca Yupanqui. Garcilasso, while he betrays obvious satisfaction that 
the blood of the civilized European flows in his veins, shows himself 
not a little proud of his descent from the royal dynasty of Peru ; and 
this he intimated by combining with his patronymic the distinguishmg 
title of the Peruvian princes, — subscribing himself always Garcilasso 
Inca de la Vega. 

His early years were passed in his native land, where he was reared 
in the Roman Catholic faith, and received the benefit of as good an 
education as could be obtained amidst the incessant din of arms and 
civil commotion. In 1560, when twenty years of age, he left America, 
and from that time took up his residence in Spain. Here he entered 
the military service, and held a captain's commission in the war against 
the Moriscos, and, afterwards, under Don John of Austria. Though 
he acquitted himself honorably in his adventurous career, he does not 
seem to have been satisfied with the manner in which his services were 
requited by the government. The old reproach of the father's dis- 
loyalty still clung to the son, and Garcilasso assures us that this cir- 
cumstance defeated all his efforts to recover the large inheritance of 
landed property belonging to his mother, which had escheated to the 
crown. " Such were the prejudices against me," says he, " that I 
could not urge my ancient claims or expectations ; and I left the army 
so poor and so much in debt that I did not care to show myself again 
at court, but was obliged to withdraw into an obscure solitude, where 
I lead a tranquil life for the brief space that remains to me, no longer 
deluded by the world or its vanities." 

The scene of this obscure retreat was not, however, as the reader 
might imagine from this tone of philosophic resignation in the depths 
of some rural wilderness, but in Cordova, once the gay capital of Mos- 
Peru — Vol. I. — N 25 


lem science, and still the busy haunt of men. Here our philosopher 
occupied himself with literary labors, the more sweet and soothing to 
his wounded spirit that they tended to illustrate the faded glories of 
his native land and exhibit them in their primitive splendor to the eyes 
of his adopted countrj'men. " And I have no reason to regret," he 
says in his Preface to his account of Florida, " that Fortune has not 
smiled on me, since this circumstance has opened a literary career 
which, I trust, will secure to me a wider and more enduring fame than 
could flow from any worldly prosperity." 

In 1609 he gave to the world the First Part of his great work, thw 
Commentarios Reales, devoted to the history of the country under the 
Incas; and in 1616, a few months before his death, he finished the 
Second Part, embracing the story of the Conquest, which was pub- 
lished at Cordova the following year. The chronicler, who thus closed 
his labors with his life, died at the ripe old age of seventy-six. He 
left a considerable sum for the purchase of masses for his soul, show- 
ing that the complaints of his poverty are not to be taken literally. 
His remains were interred in the cathedral church of Cordova, in a 
chapel which bears the name of Garcilasso; and an inscription was 
placed on his monument, intimating the high respect in which the his- 
torian was held both for his moral worth and his literary attainments. 

The First Part of the Commentarios Reales is occupied, as already 
noticed, with the ancient histor\' of the country, presenting a complete 
picture of its civilization under the Incas, — far more complete than 
has been given by any other writer. Garcilasso's mother was but ten 
years old at the time of her cousin Atahuallpa's accession, or rather 
usurpation, as it is called by the party of Cuzco. Slie had the good 
fortune to escape the massacre which, according to the chronicler, 
befell most of her kindred, and, with her brother, continued to reside 
in their ancient capital after the Conquest. Their conversations natu- 
rally turned to the good old times of the Inca rule, which, colored 
by their fond regrets, may be presumed to have lost nothing as seen 
through the magnifying medium of the past. The young Garcilasso 
listened greedily to the stories which recounted the magnificence and 
prowess of his royal ancestors, and, though he made no use of them 
at the time, they sank deep into his memory, to be treasured up for a 
future occasion. WTien he prepared, after the lapse of many years, 
in his retirement at Cordova, to compose the history of his country, 
he wrote to his old companions and schoolfellows of the Inca family, 
to obtain fuller information than he could get in Spain on various mat- 



ters of historical interest. He had witnessed in his youth the ancient 
ceremonies and usages of his countrymen, understood the science of 
their quipus, and mastered many of their primitive traditions. With the 
assistance he now obtained from his Peruvian kindred, he acquired a 
familiarity with the history of the great Inca race, and of their national 
institutions, to an extent that no person could have possessed unless 
educated in the midst of them, speaking the same language, and with 
the same Indian blood flowing in his veins. Garcilasso, in short, was 
the representative of the conquered race ; and we might expect to find 
the lights and shadows of the picture disposed under his pencil so as 
to produce an effect very different from that which they had hitherto 
exhibited under the hands of the Conquerors. 

Such, to a certain extent, is the fact; and this circumstance affords 
a means of comparison which would alone render his works of great 
value in arriving at just historic conclusions. But Garcilasso wrote late 
in life, after the story had been often told by Castilian writers. He 
naturally deferred much to men, some of whom enjoyed high credit 
on the score both of their scholarship and their social position. His 
object, he professes, was not so much to add any thing new of his own, 
as to correct their errors and the misconceptions into which they had 
been brought by their ignorance of the Indian languages and the usages 
of his people. He does, in fact, however, go far beyond this; and the 
stores of information which he has collected have made his work a 
large repository, whence later laborers in the same field have drawn 
copious materials. He writes from the fulness of his heart, and illu- 
minates every topic that he touches with a variety and richness of illus- 
tration that leave little to be desired by the most importunate curiosity. 
The difference between reading his Commentaries and the accounts of 
European writers is the difference that exists between reading a work 
in the original and in a bald translation. Garcilasso's writings are an 
emanation from the Indian mind. 

Yet his Commentaries are open to a grave objection, — and one natu- 
rally suggested by his position. Addressing himself to the cultivated 
European, he was most desirous to display the ancient glories of his 
people, and still more of the Inca race, in their most imposing form. 
This, doubtless, was the great spur to his literary labors, for which pre- 
vious education, however good for the evil time on which he was cast, 
had far from qualified him. Garcilasso, therefore, wrote to effect a par- 
ticular object. He stood forth as counsel for his unfortunate country- 
men, pleading the cause of that degraded race before the tribunal of 



posterity. The exaggerated tone of paneg>'ric consequent on this be- 
comes apparent in every page of his work. He pictures forth a state of 
bociety such as an Utopian philosopher would hardly venture to depict. 
His royal ancestors became the types of every imaginary e.xcellence, 
and the golden age is revived for a nation which, while the war of 
proselytism is raging on its borders, enjoys within all the blessings of 
tranquillity and peace. Even the material splendors of the monarchy, 
sufficiently great in this land of gold, become heightened, under the 
glowing imagination of the Inca chronicler, into the gorgeous illusions 
of a fairj'-tale. 

Yet there is truth at the bottom of his wildest conceptions, and it 
would be unfair to the Indian historian to suppose that he did not him- 
self believe most of the magic marvels which he describes. There is 
no credulity like that of a Christian convert, — one newly converted to 
the faith. From long dwelling in the darkness of paganism, his eyes, 
when first opened to the light of truth, have not acquired the power 
of discriminating the just proportions of objects, of distinguishing 
between the real and the imaginar}'. Gajcilasso was not a convert, 
indeed, for he was bred from infancy in the Roman Catholic faith. 
But he was surrounded by converts and neophytes, — by those of his 
own blood, who, after practising all their lives the rites of paganism, 
were now first admitted into the Christian fold. He listened to the 
teachings of the missionary, learned from him to give implicit credit 
to the mar\-ellous legends of the Saints, and the no less mar\-ellous 
accounts of his own victories in his spiritual warfare for the propaga- 
tion of the faith. Thus early accustomed to such large drafts on his 
credulity, his reason lost its heavenly power of distinguishing truth 
from error, and he became so familiar with the miraculous that the 
miraculous was no longer a miracle. 

Yet, while large deductions are to be made on this account from the 
chronicler's reports, there is always a germ of truth which it is not 
difficult to detect, and even to disengage from the fanciful covering 
which envelops it; and, after every allowance for the exaggerations 
of national vanity, we shall find an abundance of genuine information 
in respect to the antiquities of his country, for which we shall look in 
vain in any European writer. 

Garcilasso's work is the reflection of the age in which he lived. It 
is addressed to the imagination, more than to sober reason. We are 
dazzled by the gorgeous spectacle it perpetually exhibits, and delighted 
by the variety of amusing details and animated gossip sprinkled ovei 


its pages. The story of the action is perpetually varied by discussions 
on topics illustrating its progress, so as to break up the monotony of 
the narrative and afford an agreeable relief to the reader. This is true 
of the First Part of his great work. In the Second there was no longer 
room for such discussion. But he has supplied the place by garrulous 
reminiscences, personal anecdotes, incidental adventures, and a host 
of trivial details,— trivial in the eyes of the pedant, — which historians 
have been too willing to discard, as below the dignity of history. We 
have the actors in this great drama in their private dress, become ac- 
quainted with their personal habits, listen to their familiar sayings, and, 
in short, gather up those minutice which in the aggregate make up S(S 
much of life, and not less of character. 

It is this confusion of the great and the little, thus artlessly blended 
together, that constitutes one of the charms of the old romantic chron- 
icle, — not the less true that, in this respect, it approaches nearer to the 
usual tone of romance. It is in such writings that we may look to find 
the form and pressure of the age. The worm-eaten state-papers, official 
correspondence, public records, are all serviceable, indispensable, to 
history. They are the framework on which it is to repose ; the skele- 
ton of facts which gives it its strength and proportions. But they are 
as worthless as the dry bones of the skeleton, unless clothed with the 
beautiful form and garb of humanity and instinct with the spirit of the 
age. Our debt is large to the antiquarian, who with conscientious 
precision lays broad and deep the foundations of historic truth ; and 
no less to the philosophic annalist, who exhibits man in the dress of 
public life, — man in masquerade; but our gratitude must surely not 
be withheld from those who, like Garcilasso de la Vega, and many a 
romancer of the Middle Ages, have held up the mirror — distorted 
though it may somewhat be — to the interior of life, reflecting every 
object, the great and the mean, the beautiful and the deformed, with 
their natural prominence and their vivacity of coloring, to the eye of 
the spectator. As a work of art, such a production may be thought 
to be below criticism. But, although it defy the rules of art in its 
composition, it does not necessarily violate the principles of taste; for 
it conforms in its spirit to the spirit of the age in which it was written. 
And the critic, who coldly condemns it on the severe principles of art, 
will find a charm in its very simplicity, that will make him recur again 
and again to its pages, while more correct and classical compositions 
are laid aside and forgotten. 

I cannot dismiss this notice of Garcilasso, though already long pro- 



traded, without some allusion to the English translation of his Com- 
mentaries. It appeared in James the Second's reign, and is the work 
of Sir Paul Rycaut, Knight. It was printed at London in 1688, in 
folio, with considerable pretension in its outward dress, well garnished 
with wood-cuts, and a frontispiece displaying the gaunt and rather 
sardonic features, not of the author, but his translator. The version 
keeps pace with the march of the original, corresponding precisely in 
books and chapters, and seldom, though sometimes, using the freedom, 
so common in these ancient versions, of abridgment and omission. 
Wliere it does depart from the original, it is rather from ignorance 
than intention. Indeed, so far as the plea of ignorance will avail 
him, the worthy knight may urge it stoutly in his defence. No one 
who reads the book will doubt his limited acquaintance with his own 
tongue, and no one who compares it with the original will deny his 
ignorance of the Castilian. It contains as many blunders as para- 
graphs, and most of them such as might shame a schoolboy. Yet 
such are the rude charms of the original, that this ruder version of 
it has found considerable favor with readers; and Sir Paul Rycaut's 
translation, old as it is, may still be met with in many a private, as 
well as public, library. 












PiZARRO and his officer, having crossed the Isthmus, 
embarked at Nombre de Dios for the old country, and, 
after a good passage, reached Seville early in the sum- 
mer of 1528. There happened to be at that time in 
port a person well known in the history of Spanish 
adventure as the Bachelor Enciso. He had taken an 
active part in the colonization of Tierra Firme, and 
had a pecuniary claim against the early colonists of 
Darien, of whom Pizarro was one. Immediately on 
the landing of the latter, he was seized by Enciso's 
orders and held in custody for the debt. Pizarro, 
who had fled from his native land as a forlorn and 
houseless adventurer, after an absence of more than 
twenty years, passed, most of them, in unprecedented 
toil and suffering, now found himself on his return 
N* ( 297 ) 


the inmate of a prison. Such was the commence- 
ment of those brilliant fortunes which, as he had 
trusted, awaited him at home. The circumstance 
excited general indignation; and no sooner was the 
court advised of his arrival in the country, and the 
great purpose of his mission, than orders were sent 
for his release, with permission to proceed at once on 
his journey. 

Pizarro found the emperor at Toledo, which he was 
soon to quit, in order to embark for Italy. Spain 
was not the favorite residence of Charles the Fifth in 
the earlier part of his reign. He was now at that 
period of it when he was enjoying the full flush of 
his triumphs over his gallant rival of France, whom 
he had defeated and taken prisoner at the great bat- 
tle of Pavia; and the victor was at this moment pre- 
paring to pass into Italy to receive the imperial crown 
from the hands of the Roman Pontiff. Elated by his 
successes and his elevation to the German throne, 
Charles made little account of his hereditary king- 
dom, as his ambition found so splendid a career 
thrown open to it on the wide field of European pol- 
itics. He had hitherto received too inconsiderable 
returns from his transatlantic possessions to give them 
the attention they deserved. But, as the recent ac- 
quisition of Mexico and the brilliant anticipations m 
respect to the southern continent were pressed upon 
his notice, he felt their importance as likely to afford 
him the means of prosecuting his ambitious and most 
expensive enterprises. 

Pizarro, therefore, who had now come to satisfy the 
royal eyes, by visible proofs, of the truth of the golden 



rumors which from time to time had reached Castile, 
was graciously received by the emperor. Charles ex- 
amined the various objects which his officer exhibited 
to him with great attention. He was particularly in- 
terested by the appearance of the llama, so remarkable 
as the only beast of burden yet known on the new 
continent; and the fine fabrics of woollen cloth which 
were made from its shaggy sides gave it a much higher 
value, in the eyes of the sagacious monarch, than what 
it possessed as an animal for domestic labor. But the 
specimens of gold and silver manufacture, and the 
wonderful tale which Pizarro had to tell of the abun- 
dance of the precious metals, must have satisfied even 
the cravings of royal cupidity. 

Pizarro, far from being embarrassed by tlije novelty 
of his situation, maintained his usual self-possession, 
and showed that decorum and even dignity in his ad 
dress which belong to the Castilian. He spoke in a 
simple and respectful style, but with the earnestness 
and natural eloquence of one who had been an actor 
in the scenes he described, and who was conscious 
that the impression he made on his audience was to 
decide his future destiny. All listened with eagerness 
to the account of his strange adventures by sea and 
land, his wanderings in the forests, or in the dismal 
and pestilent swamps on the sea-coast, without food, 
almost without raiment, with feet torn and bleeding 
at every step, with his few companions becoming still 
fewer by disease and death, and yet pressing on with 
unconquerable spirit to extend the empire of Castile 
and the name and power of her sovereign ; but 
when he painted his lonely condition on the deso- 


late island, abandoned by the government at home, 
deserted by all but a handful of devoted followers, his 
royal auditor, though not easily moved, was affected 
to tears. On his departure from Toledo, Charles 
commended the affairs of his vassal in the most favor- 
able terms to the consideration of the Council of the 

There was at this time another man at court, who 
had come there on a similar errand from the New 
World, but whose splendid achievements had already 
won for him a name that threw the rising reputation 
of Pizarro comparatively into the shade. This man 
was Hernando Cortes, the Conqueror of Mexico. He 
had come home to lay an empire at the feet of his 
sovereigQ, and to demand in return the redress of his 
wrongs and the recompense of his great services. He 
was at the close of his career, as Pizarro was at the com- 
mencement of his ; the Conqueror of the North and 
of the South; the two men appointed by Providence 
to overturn the most potent of the Indian dynasties, 
and to open the golden gates by which the treasures 
of the New World were to pass into the coffers of 

Notwithstanding the emperor's recommendation, the 
business of Pizarro went forward at the tardy pace 
with which affairs are usually conducted in the court 

' Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, 
MS. — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. — " Hablaba tan bien en la materia, 
que se Uevo los aplausos y atencion en Toledo donde el Emperador 
estaba, diole audiencia con mucho gusto, tratolo amoroso, y oyole 
tiemo, especialmente cuando le hizo relacion de su consistencia y de 
los trece companeros en la Isla en medio de tantos trabajos." Moate* 
tinos, Annales, MS., ano 1523. 



of Castile. He found his limited means gradually 
sinking under the expenses incurred by his present 
situation, and he represented that unless some meas- 
ures were speedily taken in reference to his suit, how- 
ever favorable they might be in the end, he should be 
in no condition to profit by them. The queen, ac- 
cordingly, who had charge of the business, on her 
husband's departure, expedited the affair, and on the 
twenty-sixth of July, 1529, she executed the memor- 
able Capitulation which defined the powers and privi- 
leges of Pizarro.* 

The instrument secured to that chief the right of 
discovery and conquest in the province of Peru, or 
New Castile, — as the country was then called, in the 
same manner as Mexico had received the name of 
New Spain, — for the distance of two hundred leagues 
south of Santiago. He was to receive the titles and 
rank of Governor and Captain-General of the prov- 
ince, together with those of Adelantado and Alguacil 
Mayor, for life; and he was to have a salary of seven 
hundred and twenty-five thousand maravedis, with the 
obligation of maintaining certain officers and mili- 
tary retainers, corresponding with the dignity of his 
station. He was to have the right to erect certain 
fortresses, with the absolute government of them; to 
assign encomiendas of Indians, under the limitations 

* [There seems to be in this sentence a confusion of two distinct 
personages. On leaving Spain in 1529, Charles intrusted the govern- 
ment to his wife, the Empress Isabella, who therefore "had charge of 
the business" referred to, and may have "expedited the affair." But 
"the queen" in whose name the agreement with Pizarro was "exe- 
cuted" was the unfortunate Juana, Charles's mother. — Ed.] 
Peru — Vol. I. 26 


prescribed by law: and, in fine, to exercise nearly all 
the prerogatives incident to the authority of a viceroy. 

His associate, Almagro, was declared commander of 
the fortress of Tumbez, with an annual rent of three 
hundred thousand maravedis, and with the further 
rank and privileges of an hidalgo. The reverend 
Father Luque received the reward of his services in 
the bishopric of Tumbez, and he was also declared 
Protector of the Indians of Peru. He was to enjoy the 
yearly stipend of a thousand ducats, — to be derived, 
like the other salaries and gratuities in this instrument, 
from the revenues of the conquered territory. 

Nor were the subordinate actors in the expedition 
forgotten. Ruiz received the title of Grand Pilot of 
the Southern Ocean, with a liberal "provision; Candia 
was placed at the head of the artillery; and the re- 
maining eleven companions on the desolate island 
were created hidalgos and cavalleros, and raised to 
certain municipal dignities, — in prospect.* 

* [Mr. Markham, after quoting this clause of the instrument, which 
contains the list of names before cited as those of the men who elected 
to remain with Pizarro at the island of Gallo, instead of returning to 
Panimd (p. 261, note 3), obsen-es, "It has always been supposed 
that these were the men who crossed the line, and hence their number 
has been placed at thirteen. But it is not asserted in the Capitulation 
that the men whose names are given in it were those who crossed the 
line, and it might be that Pizarro, in asking favors for his most faithful 
companions, on the one hand omitted one or more of those who 
crossed the line, and on the other included some who did not take 
part in that tr?jisaction, but who joined him afterwards." Proceeding 
on this supposition, he rejects the accounts of Cieza de Leon, Gomara, 
Herrera, and Garcilasso, who all concur in fixing the number of those 
whD remained at Gallo at thirteen, and accepts instead the statement 
of Francisco de Xerez, afterwards secretary of Pizarro, who, in a 



Several provisions of a liberal tenor were also made, 
to encourage emigration to the country. The new 

brief mention of the affair, gives the number as sixteen. (Reports on 
the Discovery of Peru, p. 8, note.) But had Mr. Markham been at 
the pains to read the whole of the document on whose assumed si- 
lence in regard to the point in question his argument is chiefly based, 
he would probably have refrained from contradicting the general 
mass of contemporary authorities, as well as the modern writers who 
hiwe conformed to them. The preamble to the Capitulation, reciting 
the ."services and enterprises for which Pizarro and his companions 
were to be rewarded, says expressly that on account of the dangers and 
toils of the voyage he was deserted on an uninhabited island by all the 
people that had gone with him, except thirteen alone, who chose to 
remain with him. (" Donde pasastes muchos peligros e trabajo, d 
causa de lo cual os dejo toda la gente que con vos iba en una isla des- 
poblada con solr>s trece hombres que no vos quisieron dejar.") This 
settles the number of the faithful few on the authority of Pizarro him- 
self, and accounts for the fact that the subsequent clause, enumerating 
their natnes, mentions only in a general way " the great service they 
Ijad rendered in the said voyage and discovery." 

It should perhaps be mentioned that Sir Arthur Helps makes the 
number fourteen, without citing his authority, and rejects the common 
version of the story of " crossing the line," as an example of " the invin- 
cible passion for melodramatic representation which people of second- 
rate imagination delight in, — those especially who have not seen much 
of human affairs, and who do not know in how plain and unpretending 
a manner the greatest things are, for the most part, transacted." (The 
Spanish Conquest in America, Am. ed., vol. iii. p. 409.) It may be 
admitted that there are many people of second-rate, or even third- or 
fourth-rate, imagination, who have employed themselves either in am- 
plifying or simplifying the events of history ; but, without holding any 
official position, one may have seen enough of " human affairs" to be- 
lieve that neither the greatest nor the smallest things are always trans- 
acted with the extreme quietude and gentleness that accord with the 
tone of an idyllic historian. In regard to this particular affair. Sir 
Arthur Helps relies on what he calls the "simple story" told by Her- 
rera, according to whom it was Tafur who drew the line, and who 
makes no mention of Pizarro's speech. Garcilasso, on the other 


settlers were to be exempted from some of the most 
onerous but customary taxes, as the alcabala, or to be 
subject to them only in a mitigated form. The tax 
on the precious metals drawn from mines was to be 
reduced, at first, to one-tenth, instead of the fifth im- 
posed on the same metals when obtained by barter or 
by rapine. 

It was expressly enjoined on Pizarro to observe the 
existing regulations for the good government and pro- 
tection of the natives; and he was required to carry 
out with him a specified number of ecclesiastics, with 
whom he Avas to take counsel in the conquest of the 
country, and. whose efforts were to be dedicated to 
the service and conversion of the Indians; while law- 
yers and attorneys, on the other hand, whose presence 
was considered as boding ill to the harmony of the 
new settlements, were strictly prohibited from setting 
foot in them. 

Pizarro, on his part, was bound, in six months 
from the date of the instrument, to raise a force, 
well equipped for the service, of two hundred and 
fifty men, of whom one hundred might be drawn 
from the colonies; and the government engaged to 
furnish some trifling assistance in the purchase of ar- 
tillery and military stores. Finally, he was to be pre- 
pared, in six months after his return to Panama, to 
leave that port and embark on his expedition.' 

» This remarkable document, formerly in the archives of Simancas, 

hand, gives exactly the same relation as Montesinos, whom Prescott 
has followed ; and we can feel little difficulty in agreeing with Mr. 
Markham that "of these two accounts [Herrera's and Garcilasso's] 
that of Garcilasso is far more likely to be true." — Ed.] 



Such are some of the principal provisions of this 
Capitulation, by which the Castilian government, witli 
the sagacious policy which it usually pursued on the 
like occasions, stimulated the ambitious hopes of the 
adventurer by high-sounding titles and liberal prem- 
ises of reward contingent on his success, but took 
care to stake nothing itself on the issue of the entei 
prise. It was careful to reap the fruits of his toil, 
but not to pay the cost of them. 

A circumstance that could not fail to be remarked 
in these provisions was the manner in which the high 
and lucrative posts were accumulated on Pizarro, to 
the exclusion of Almagro, who, if he had not taken 
as conspicuous a part in personal toil and exposure, 
had at least divided with him the original burden of 
the enterprise, and, by his labors in another direction, 
had contributed quite as essentially to its success. Al- 
magro had willingly conceded the post of honor to 
his confederate; but it had been stipulated, on Pi- 
zarro's departure for Spain, that, while he solicited the 
office of Governor and Captain-General for himself, 
he should secure that of Adelantado for his compan- 
ion. In like manner, he had engaged to apply for 
the see of Tumbez for the vicar of Panama, and the 
office of Alguacil Mayor for the pilot Ruiz. The 
bishopric took the direction that was concerted, for 
the soldier could scarcely claim the mitre of the prel- 
ate ; but the other offices, instead of their appropriate 

and now transferred to the Archive General de las Indias in Seville, 
was transcribed for the rich collection of the late Don Martin Fer- 
nandez de Navarrete, to whose kindness I am indebted for a copy of 
it. It wiU be found printed entire, in the original, in Appendix No. 7. 


distribution, were all concentred in himself. Yet it 
was in reference to his application for his friends that 
Pizarro had promised on his departure to deal fairly 
and honorably by them all.^ 

It is stated by the military chronicler, Pedro Pizarro, 
that his kinsman did, in fact, urge the suit strongly in 
behalf of Almagro, but that he was refused by the gov- 
ernment, on the ground that offices of such paramount 
importance could not be committed to different indi- 
viduals. The ill effects of such an arrangement had 
been long since felt in more than one of the Indian 
colonies, where it had led to rivalry and fatal col- 
lision/ Pizarro, therefore, finding his remonstrances 
unheeded, had no alternative but to combine the offices 
in his own person, or to see the expedition fall to the 
ground. This explanation of the affair has not re- 
ceived the sanction of other contemporary historians. 
The apprehensions expressed by Luque, at the time of 
Pizarro's assuming the mission, of some such result as 

3 " Al fin se capitulo, que Francisco Pi9arro negociase la Govema- 
cion para si : i para Diego de Almagro, el Adelantamiento : i para Her- 
nando de Luque, el Obispado: i para Bartolome Ruiz, el Alguacilazgo 
Maior: i Mercedes para los que quedaban vivos, de los trece Compa- 
neros, afirmando siempre Francisco Pi9arro, que todo lo queria pani 
ellos, i prometiendo, que negociaria lealmente, i sin ninguna cautela." 
Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 4, lib. 3, cap. i. 

4 " Y don Francisco Pi9arro pidio conforme d lo que llevava capitu- 
lado y hordenado con sus companeros ya dicho, y en el consejo se le 
rrespondio que no avia lugar de dar governacion d dos companeros, 
d caussa de que en santa marta se avia dado ansi a dos companeros 
y el uno avia muerto al otro. . . . Pues pedido, como digo, niuchas 
vezes por den Francisco Pizarro se les hiziese la merced d ambos com- 
paneros, se le rresponlio la pidiesse parassi sino que se daria d otro, jr 
visto que no avia lugar lo que pedia y queria pedio se le hiziese la 
merced d el, y ansi se le hizo." Descub. y Conq., MS. 



actually occurred, founded, doubtless, on a knowledge 
of his associate's character, may warrant us in distrust- 
ing the alleged vindication of his conduct ; and our 
distrust will not be diminished by familiarity with his 
subsequent career. Pizarro's virtue was not of a kind 
to withstand temptation, — though of a much weaker 
sort than that now thrown in his path. 

The fortunate cavalier was also honored with the 
habit of St. Jago ;* and he was authorized to make an 
important innovation in his family escutcheon, — for by 
the father's side he might claim his armorial bearings. 
The black eagle and the two pillars emblazoned on the 
royal arms were incorporated with those of the Pizarros; 
and an Indian city, with a vessel in the distance on the 
waters, and the llama of Peru, revealed the theatre and 
the character of his exploits; while the legend an- 
nounced that "under the auspices of Charles, and by 
the industry, the genius, and the resources of Pizarro, 
the country had been discovered and reduced to tran- 
quillity," — thus modestly intimating both the past and 
prospective services of the Conqueror.* 

These arrangements having been thus completed to 
Pizarro's satisfaction, he left Toledo for Truxillo, his 
native place, in Estremadura, where he thought he 
should be most likely to meet with adherents for his 
new enterprise, and where it doubtless gratified his 
vanity to display himself in the palmy, or at least 

5 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 182. — Oviedo, Hist, 
de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. i. — Caro de Torres, Historia 
de las Ordenes militares (ed. Madrid, 1629), p. 113. 

* " Caroli Caesaris auspicio, et labore. ingenio, ac impensa Ducis Pi- 
9arro inventa, et pacata." Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 4, lib. 6, cap. 5. 


promising, state of his present circumstances. If vanity 
be ever pardonable, it is certainly in a man who, born 
in an obscure station in life, without family, interest, 
or friends to back him, has carved out his own fortunes 
in the world, and, by his own resources, triumplied 
over all the obstacles which nature and accident had 
thrown in his way. Such was the condition of Pizarro 
as he now revisited the place of his nativity, where he 
had hitherto been known only as a poor outcast, with- 
out a home to shelter, a father to own him, or a friend 
to lean upon. But he now found both friends and fol- 
lowers, and some who were eager to claim kindred with 
him and take part in his future fortunes. Among these 
were four brothers. Three of them, like himself, were 
illegitimate, — one of whom, named Francisco Martin 
de Alcantara, was related to him by the mother's side, 
the other two, named Gonzalo and Juan Pizarro, were 
descended from the father. " They were all poor, and 
proud as they were poor," says Oviedo, who had seen 
them; "and their eagerness for gain was in proportion 
to their poverty."^ 

The remaining and eldest brother, named Hernando, 
was a legitimate son, — "legitimate," continues the 
same caustic authority, "by his pride, as well as by his 
birth." His features were plain, even disagreeably so; 
but his figure was good. He was large of stature, and, 
like his brother Francis, had on the whole an imposing 
presence.^ In his character he combined some of the 

1 "Trujo tres o cuatro hermanos suyos tan soberbios como pobres, 
t tan sin hacienda como deseosos de alcanzarla." Hist, de las Indias, 
MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. i. 

• Oviedo's portrait of him is by no means flattering. He writes like 



worst defects incident to the Castilian. He was jealous 
in the extreme; impatient, not merely of affront, but 
of the least slight, and implacable in his resentment. 
He was decisive in his measures, and unscrupulous in 
their execution. No touch of pity had power to arrest 
his arm. His arrogance was such that he was con- 
stantly wounding the self-love of those with whom he 
acted ; thus begetting an ill will which unnecessarily 
multiplied obstacles in his path. In this he differed 
from his brother Francis, whose plausible manners 
smoothed away difficulties and conciliated confidence 
and co-operation in his enterprises. Unfortunately, 
the evil counsels of Hernando exercised an influence 
over his brother which more than compensated the ad- 
vantages derived from his singular capacity for business. 
Notwithstanding the general interest which Pizarro's 
adventures excited in his country, that chief did not 
find it easy to comply with the provisions of the Ca- 
pitulation in respect to the amount of his levies. Those 
who were most astonished by his narrative were not 
always most inclined to take part in his fortunes. They 
shrank from the unparalleled hardships which lay in 
the path of the adventurer in that direction; and they 
listened with visible distrust to the gorgeous pictures 
of the golden temples and gardens of Tumbez, which 
they looked upon as indebted in some degree, at least, 
to the coloring of his fancy, with the obvious purpose 

one too familiar with the original. " 6 de todos ellos el Hernando 
Pizarro solo era legitimo, e mas legitimado en la soberbia, hombre de 
aha estatura e grueso, la lengua e labios gordos, e la punta de la naa:z 
con sobrada came e encendida, y este fue el desavenidor y estorbador 
del sosiego de todos y en especial de los dos viejos compaiieros Francisco 
Pizarro e Diego de Almagro." Hist, de las Indias, MS. ubi supra. 


of attracting followers to his banner. It is even said 
that Pizarro would have found it difficult to raise the 
necessary funds, but for the seasonable aid of Cortes, a 
native of Estremadura like himself, his companion in 
arms in early days, and, according to report, his kins- 
man.' No one was in a better condition to hold out 
a helping hand to a brother adventurer, and probably 
no one felt greater sympathy in Pizarro' s fortunes, or 
greater confidence in his eventual success, than the man 
who had so lately trod the same career with renown. 

The six months allowed by the Capitulation had 
elapsed, and Pizarro had assembled somewhat less than 
his stipulated complement of men, with which he was 
preparing to embark in a little squadron of three ves- 
sels at Seville ; but before they were wholly ready he 
received intelligence that the officers of the Council 
of the Indies proposed to inquire into the condition 
of the vessels and ascertain how far the requisitions 
had been complied with. 

Without loss of time, therefore, Pizarro, afraid, if 
the facts were known, that his enterprise might be 
nipped in the bud, slipped his cables, and, crossing 
the bar of San Lucar, in January, 1530, stood for the 
isle of Gomera, — one of the Canaries, — where he or- 
dered his brother Hernando, who had charge of the 
remaining vessels, to meet him. 

Scarcely had he gone, before the officers arrived to 
institute the search. But when they objected the "le- 
ficiency of men they were easily — perhaps willingl) — 
deceived by the pretext that the remainder had gone 
forward in the vessel with Pizarro. At all events, no 

9 Pizarro y Orellana, Varones ilustres, p. 143. 


further obstacles were thrown in Hernando's way, and 
he was permitted, with the rest of the squadron, to 
join his brother, according to agreement, at Gomera. 

After a prosperous voyage, the adventurers reached 
the northern coast of the great southern continent, and 
anchored off the port of Santa Marta. Here they re- 
ceived such discouraging reports of the countries to 
which they were bound, of forests teeming with insects 
and venomous serpents, of huge alligators that swarmed 
on the banks of the streams, and of hardships and perils 
such as their own fears had never painted, that several 
of Pizarro's men deserted, and their leader, thinking 
it no longer safe to abide in such treacherous quarters, 
set sail at once for Nombre de Dios. 

Soon after his arrival there, he was met by his two 
associates, Luque and Almagro, who had crossed the 
mountains for the purpose of hearing from his own lips 
the precise import of the Capitulation with the crown. 
Great, as might have been expected, was Almagro's 
discontent at learning the result of what he regarded 
as the perfidious machinations of his associate. " Is 
it thus," he exclaimed, "that you have dealt with the 
friend who shared equally with you in the trials, the 
dangers, and the cost of the enterprise, and this, not- 
withstanding your solemn engagements on your de- 
parture to provide for his interests as faithfully as your 
own? How could you allow me to be thus dishonored 
in the eyes of the world by so paltry a compensation, 
which seems to estimate my services as nothing in 
comparison with your own?"" 

»° Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9. — Pedro Pizarro, 
Descub. y Conq., MS. 


Pizarro, in reply, assured his companion that he 
had faithfully urged his suit, but that the government 
refused to confide powers which intrenched so closely 
on one another to different hands. He had no alter- 
native but to accept all himself or to decline all ; and 
he endeavored to mitigate Almagro's displeasure by 
representing that the country was large enough for 
the ambition of both, and that the powers conferred 
on himself were, in fact, conferred on Almagro, since 
all that he had would ever be at his friend's disposal, 
as if it were his own. But these honeyed words did 
not satisfy the injured party; and the two captains 
soon after returned to Panama with feelings of es- 
trangement, if not hostility, towards one another, 
which did not augur well for their enterprise. 

Still, Almagro was of a generous temper, and might 
have been appeased by the politic concessions of his 
rival, but for the interference of Hernando Pizarro, 
who, from the first hour of their meeting, showed 
little respect for the veteran, which, indeed, the di- 
minutive person of the latter was not calculated to 
inspire, and who now regarded him with particular 
aversion as an impediment to the career of his brother. 

Almagro's friends — and his frank and liberal man- 
ners had secured him many — were no less disgusted 
than himself with the overbearing conduct of this 
new ally. They loudly complained that it was quite 
enough to suffer from the perfidy of Pizarro, without 
being exposed to the insults of his family, who had 
now come over with him to fatten on the spoils of 
conquest which belonged to their leader. The rup- 
ture soon proceeded to such a length that Almagro 



avowed his intention to prosecute the expedition with- 
out further co-operation with his partner, and actu- 
ally entered into negotiations for the purchase of 
vessels for that object. But Luque, and the Licen- 
tiate Espinosa, who had fortunately come over at that 
time from St. Domingo, now interposed to repair a 
breach which must end in the ruin of the enterprise 
and the probable destruction of those most interested 
in its success. By their mediation, a show of reconcili- 
ation was at length effected between the parties, on 
Pizarro's assurance that he would relinquish the dig- 
nity of Adelantado in favor of his rival, and petition 
the emperor to confirm him in the possession of it, — 
an assurance, it may be remarked, not easy to recon- 
cile with his former assertion in respect to the avowed 
policy of the crown in bestowing this office. He was, 
moreover, to apply for a distinct government for his 
associate, so soon as he had become master of the 
country assigned to himself, and was to solicit no 
office for either of his own brothers until Almagro 
had been first provided for. Lastly, the former con- 
tract in regard to the division of the spoil into three 
equal shares between the three original associates was 
confirmed in the most explicit manner. The recon- 
ciliation thus effected among the parties answered the 
temporary purpose of enabling them to go forward in 
concert in the expedition. But it was only a thin 
scar that had healed over the wound, which, deep and 
rankling within, waited only fresh cause of irritation 
to break out with a virulence more fatal than ever." 

'» Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Naharro, Relacion suma- 
ria, MS. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1529. — Relacion del primer 
Peru — Vol. I. — o 27 


No time was now lost in preparing for the voyage. 
It found little encouragement, however, among the 
colonists of Panama, who were too familiar with the 
sufferings on the former expeditions to care to under- 
take another, even with the rich bribe that was held 
out to allure them. A few of the old company were 
content to follow out the adventure to its close ; and 
some additional stragglers were collected from the 
province of Nicaragua, — a shoot, it may be remarked, 
from the colony of Panama. But Pizarro made slen- 
der additions to the force brought over with him from 
Spain, though this body was in better condition, and, 
in respect to arms, ammunition, and equipment gen- 
erally, was on a much better footing, than his former 
levies. The whole number did not exceed one hun- 
dred and eighty men, with twenty-seven horses for 
the cavalry. He had provided himself with three 
vessels, two of them of a good size, to take the place 
of those which he had been compelled to leave on 
the opposite side of the Isthmus at Nombre de D!os; 
an armament small for the conquest of an empire, 
and far short of that prescribed by the Capitulation 
with the crown. With this the intrepid chief pro- 
posed to commence operations, trusting to his own 
successes, and the exertions of Almagro, who \;as to 

Descub., MS. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 3. — Ovic^o, Hist, 
de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. i. — There seems to hive been 
lirile good will, at bottom, between any of the confederates ; for Father 
Luque wrote to Oviedo that both of his partners had repaid his ser- 
\nces with ingratitude : " Padre Luque, compaiiero de estos t Japitan'S. 
con cuya hacienda hicieron ellos sus hechos, puesto que 1 1 uno i el 
otro se lo pagaron con ingratitud segun a mi me lo escribii el misiai 
electo de su mano." Ibid., loc. cit. 



remain behind for the present, to muster reinforce- 

On St. John the Evangelist's day, the banners 
of the company and the royal standard were conse- 
crated in the cathedral church of Panama; a sermon 
was preached before the little army by Fray Juan de 
Vargas, one of the Dominicans selected by the gov- 
ernment for the Peruvian mission; and mass was per- 
formed, and the sacrament administered to every sol- 
dier previous to his engaging in the crusade against 
the infidel.'^ Having thus solemnly invoked the bless- 
ing of Heaven on the enterprise, Pizarro and his fol- 
lowers went on board their vessels, which rode at- 
anchor in the Bay of Panama, and early in January, 
1531, sallied forth on his third and last expedition for 
the conquest of Peru. 

It was his intention to steer direct for Tumbez, 
which held out so magnificent a show of treasure on 
his former voyage. But head-winds and currents, as 
usual, baffled his purpose, and after a run of thirteen 
days, much shorter than the period formerly required 
for the same distance, his little squadron came to 
anchor in the Bay of St. Matthew, about one degree 

" The numerical estimates differ, as usual. I conform to the state- 
ment of Pizarro's secretary, Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn 
iii. p. 182. 

'3 " El qual hav-iendo hecho bendecir en la Iglesia mayor las ban- 
deras i estandarte real dia de San Juan Evangelista de dicho ano de 
1530. i que todos los soldados confesasen i comulgasen en el convento 
de Xuestra Senora de la Merced, dia de los Inocentes en la misacan- 
tada que se celebro con toda solemnidad i sermon que predico el P. 
Presentdo Fr. Juan de Vargas, uno de los 5 religiosos que en cumpli- 
miento de la obediencia de sus prelados i orden del Emperador pasa 
ban k la conquista." Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. 


north; and Pizarro, after consulting with his officers, 
resolved to disembark his forces and advance along 
the coast, while the vessels held their course at a con- 
venient distance from the shore. 

The march of the troops was severe and painful in 
the extreme; for the road was constantly intersected by 
streams, which, swollen by the winter rains, widened 
at their mouths into spacious estuaries. Pizarro, who 
had some previous knowledge of the country, acted 
as guide as well as commander of the expedition. He 
was ever ready to give aid where it was needed, en- 
couraging his followers to ford or swim the torrents 
as they best could, and cheering the desponding by 
his own buoyant and courageous spirit. 

At length they reached a thick-settled hamlet, or 
rather town, in the province of Coaque. The Span- 
iards rushed on the place, and the inhabitants, without 
offering resistance, fled in terror to the neighboring 
forests, leaving their effects — of much greater value 
than had been anticipated — in the hands of the in- 
vaders. "We fell on them, sword in hand," says 
one of the Conquerors, with some naivete; '"'for if 
we had advised the Indians of our approach we should 
never have found there such store of gold and precious 
stones."'* The natives, however, according to another 
authority, stayed voluntarily; "for, as they had done 
no harm to the white men, they flattered themselves 
none would be offered to them, but that there would 

M " Pues llegados d este pueblo de Coaque dieron de supito sin 
savello la gente del porque si estuvieran avisados. No se tomara la 
cantidad de oro y esmeraldas que en el se tomaron." Pedro Pizarro 
Descub. y Conq., MS. 


be only an interchange of good offices with the 
strangers,"'^ — an expectation founded, it maybe, on 
the good character which the Spaniards had estab- 
lished for themselves on their preceding visit, but one 
in which the simple people now found themselves most 
unpleasantly deceived. 

Rushing into the deserted dwellings, the invaders 
found there, besides stuffs of various kinds, and food 
most welcome in their famished condition, a large 
quantity of gold and silver wrought into clumsy orna- 
ments, together with many precious stones; for this 
was the region of the esmeraldas, or emeralds, where 
that valuable gem was most abundant. One of these 
jewels, that fell into the hands of Pizarro in this 
neighborhood, Avas as large as a pigeon's egg. Un- 
luckily, his rude followers did not know the value of 
their prize ; and they broke many of them in pieces 
by pounding them with hammers.'* Tliey were led to 
this extraordinary proceeding, it is said, by one of the 
Dominican missionaries. Fray Reginaldo de Pedraza, 
who assured them that this was the way to prove the 
true emerald, which could not be broken. It was ob- 
served that the good father did not subject his own 
jewels to this wise experiment; but, as the stones, in 

'S Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9. 

'* Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru. lib. 
I, cap. 4. — "A lo que se ha entendido en las esmeraldas ovo gran 
hierro y torpedad en algunas Personas por no conoscellas. Aunque 
quieren decir que algunos que las conoscieron las guardaron. Pcro 
ffinalmente muchos vbieron esmeraldas de mucho valor ; vnos las pro- 
vavan en yunques, dandolas con martillos, diziendo que si liera esme- 
ralda no se quebraria ; otros las despreciaban, diziendo que era vidrio. ' 
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 


consequence of it, fell in value, being regarded merely 
as colored glass, he carried back a considerable store 
of them to Panama.'' 

The gold and silver ornaments rifled from the dwell- 
ings were brought together and deposited in a common 
heap; when a fifth was deducted for the crown, and 
Pizarro distributed the remainder in due proportions 
among the officers and privates of his company. This 
was the usage invariably observed on the like occasions 
throughout the Conquest. The invaders had embarked 
in a common adventure. Their interest was common, 
and to have allowed every one to plunder on his own 
account would only have led to insubordination and 
perpetual broils. All were required, therefore, on pain 
of death, to contribute whatever they obtained, whether 
by bargain or by rapine, to the general stock ; and all 
were too much interested in the execution of the pen- 
alty to allow the unhappy culprit who violated the law 
any chance of escape.'^ 

Pizarro, with his usual policy, sent back to Panama 
a large quantity of the gold, no less than twenty thou- 
sand casiellafios in value, in the belief that the sight of 
so much treasure, thus speedily acquired, would settle 
the doubts of the wavering and decide them on joining 

'7 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Herrera, Hist, general, 
dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9. 

•8 " Los Espnfioles las rrecoxeron y juntaron el oro y la plata. 
porque asi estava mandado y hordenado sopena de la vida el que otia 
c issa hiziese, porque todos lo avian de traer d monton para que de el govemador lo rrepartiese, dando i. cada uno confforme i. su 
persona y meritos de servicios ; y esta horden se guardo en toda esta 
tierra en la conquista della, y al que se le hallara oro 6 plata escon- 
dido muriera por ello, y deste medio nadie oso escondello." Pedro 
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 


his banner.'' He judged right. As one of the Con- 
querors piously expresses it, "It pleased the Lord that 
we should fall in with the town of Coaque, that the riches 
of the land might find credit with the people, and that 
they should flock to it."^ 

Pizarro, having refreshed his men, continued his 
march along the coast, but no longer accompanied by 
the vessels, which had returned for recruits to Panama. 
The road, as he advanced, was checkered with strips 
of sandy waste, which, d)ifted about by the winds, 
blinded the soldiers, and afforded only treacherous 
footing for man and beast. The glare was intense ; 
and the rays of a vertical sun beat fiercely on the iron 
mail and the thick quilted doublets of cotton, till the 
fainting troops were almost suffocated with the heat. 
To add to their distresses, a strange epidemic broke 
out in the little army. It took the form of ulcers, or 
rather hideous warts of great size, which covered the 
body, and when lanced, as was the case with some, 
discharged such a quantity of blood as proved fatal to 
tjie sufferer. Several died of this frightful disorder, 
which was so sudden in its attack, and attended with 

'9 The booty was great indeed, if, as Pedro Pizarro, one of the Con- 
querors present, says, it amounted in value to 200,000 gold castellanos : 
" Aqui se hallo mucha chaquira de oro y de plata, muchas coronas 
hechas de oro i. manera de imperiales, y otras muchas piezas en que 
se avaleo montar mas de dozientos mill castellanos." (Descub. y 
Conq., MS.) Naharro, Montesinos, and Herrera content themselves 
with stating that he sent back 20,000 castellanos in the vessels to 

20 " Fueron a dar en vn pueblo que se dezia Coaque que fue nue- 
stro Seiior servido tapasen con el, porque con lo que en el se hallo se 
acredito la tierra y vino gente a ella." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y 
Conq., MS. 


such prostration of strength, that those who lay down 
well at night were unable to lift their hands to their 
heads in the morning." The epidemic, which made its 
first appearance during this invasion, and which did 
not long survive it, spread over the country, sparing 
neither native nor white man." It was one of those 
plagues from the vial of wrath, which the destroying 
angel, who follows in the path of the conqueror, pours 
out on the devoted nations. 

The Spaniards rarely experienced on their march 
either resistance or annoyance from the inhabitants, 
who, instructed by the example of Coaque, fled with 
their effects into the woods and neighboring mountains. 
No one came out to welcome the strangers and offer 
the rites of hospitality, as on their last visit to the 
land. For the white men were no longer regarded as 
good beings that had come from heaven, but as ruth- 
less destroyers, who, invulnerable to the assaults of the 
Indians, were borne along on the backs of fierce ani- 
mals, swifter than the wind, with weapons in their 
hands that scattered fire and desolation as they went. 
Such were the stories now circulated of the invaders, 
which, preceding them everywhere on their march, 
closed the hearts, if not the doors, of the natives against 
them. Exhausted by the fatigue of travel and by dis- 
ease, and grievously disappointed at the poverty of the 
land, which now ofl"ered no compensation for their 
toils, the soldiers of Pizarro cursed the hour in which 
they had enlisted under his standard, and the men of 

" Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS.— Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y 
Conq., MS. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1530. 
*» Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. i, cap. 15. 



Nicaragua in particular, says the old chronicler, call- 
ing to mind their pleasant quarters in their luxurious 
land, sighed only to return to their Mahometan para- 
dise. ^^ 

At this juncture the army was gladdened by the 
sight of a vessel from Panama, which brought some 
supplies, together with the royal treasurer, the veedor 
or inspector, the comptroller, and other high officers 
appointed by the crown to attend the expedition. 
They had been left in Spain by Pizarro, in conse- 
quence of his abrupt departure from the country; and 
the Council of the Indies, on learning the circum- 
stance, had sent instructions to Panama to prevent the 
sailing of his squadron from that port. But the Span- 
ish government, with more wisdom, countermanded 
the order, only requiring the functionaries to quicken 
their own departure and take their place without loss 
of time in the expedition. 

The Spaniards in their march along the coast had 
now advanced as far as Puerto Viejo. Here they were 
soon after joined by another small reinforcement of 
about thirty men, under an officer named Benalcazar, 
who subsequently rose to high distinction in this service. 
Many of the followers of Pizarro would now have 
halted at this spot and established a colony there. But 
that chief thought more of conquering than of colo- 
nizing, at least for the present ; and he proposed, as 

*3 " Aunque ellos no ninguno por aver venido, porque como avian 
dexado el paraiso de mahoma que hera Nicaragua y hallaron la isla 
alzada y falta de comidas y la mayor parte de la gente enfferma y no 
oro ni plata como atras avian hallado, algunos y todos se holgaran 
de volver de adonde avian venido." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., 



his first step, to get possession of Tumbez, which he 
regarded as the gate of the Peruvian empire. Con- 
tinuing his march, therefore, to the shores of what is 
now called the Gulf of Guayaquil, he arrived off the 
little island of Puna, lying at no great distance from 
the Bay of Tumbez. This island, he thought, would 
afford him a convenient place to encamp until he was 
prepared to make his descent on the Indian city. 

The dispositions of the islanders seemed to favor his 
purpose. He had not been long in their neighborhood 
before a deputation of the natives, with their cacique 
at their head, crossed over in their balsas to the main 
land to welcome the Spaniards to their residence. But 
the Indian interpreters of Tumbez, who had returned 
with Pizarro from Spain, and continued with the camp, 
put their master on his guard against the meditated 
treachery of the islanders, whom they accused of de- 
signing to destroy the Spaniards by cutting the ropes 
that held together the floats and leaving those upon 
them to perish in the waters. Yet the cacique, when 
charged by Pizarro with this perfidious scheme, denied 
it with such an air of conscious innocence that the 
Spanish commander trusted himself and his followers, 
without further hesitation, to his conveyance, aiid was 
transported in safety to the shores of Puna. 

Here he was received in a hospitable manner, and 
his troops were provided with comfortable quarters. 
Well satisfied with his present position, Pizarro re- 
solved to occupy it until tne violence of the rainy 
season was past, when the arrival of the reinforce- 
ments he expected would put him in better condition 
for marching into the country of the Inca. 



The island, which lies in the mouth of the river of 
Guayaquil, and is about eight leagues in length by four 
in breadth at the widest part, was at that time par- 
tially covered with a noble growth of timber. But a 
large portion of it was subjected to cultivation, and 
bloomed with plantations of cacao, of the sweet po- 
tato, and the different products of a tropical clime, 
evincing agricultural knowledge as well as industry in 
the population. They were a warlike race, but had 
received from their Peruvian foes the appellation of 
"perfidious." It was the brand fastened by the Roman 
historians on their Carthaginian enemies, — with per- 
haps no better reason. The bold and independent 
islanders opposed a stubborn resistance to the arms of 
the Incas ; and, though they had finally yielded, they 
had been ever since at feud, and often in deadly hos- 
tility, with their neighbors of Tumbez. 

The latter no sooner heard of Pizarro's arrival on 
the island than, trusting probably to their former 
friendly relations with him, they came over in some 
number to the Spanish quarters. The presence of their 
detested rivals was by no means grateful to the jealous 
inhabitants of Puna, and the prolonged residence of 
the white men on their island could not be otherwise 
than burdensome. In their outward demeanor they 
still maintained the same show of amity; but Pizarro's 
interpreters again put him on his guard against the 
proverbial perfidy of their hosts. With his suspicions 
thus roused, the Spanish commander was informed 
that a number of the chiefs had met together to de- 
liberate on a plan of insurrection. Not caring to wait 
for the springing of the mine, he surrounded the place 


of meeting with his soldiers and made prisoners of the 
suspected chieftains. According to one authority, they 
confessed their guilt.'* This is by no means certain. 
Nor is it certain that they meditated an insurrection. 
Yet the fact is not improbable in itself; though it de- 
rives little additional probability from the assertion of 
the hostile interpreters. It is certain, however, that 
Pizarro was satisfied of the existence of a conspiracy; 
and, without further hesitation, he abandoned his 
wretched prisoners, ten or twelve in number, to the 
tender mercies of their rivals of Tumbez, who instantly 
massacred them before his eyes.'^ 

Maddened by this outrage, the people of Puna 
sprang to arms, and threw themselves at once, with 
fearful yells and the wildest m.enaces of despair, on the 
Spanish camp. The odds of numbers were greatly in 
their favor, for they mustered several thousand war- 
riors. But the more decisive odds of arms and disci- 
pline were on the side of their antagonists; and, as 
the Indians rushed forward in a confused mass to the 
assault, the Castilians coolly received them on their 
long pikes or swept them down by the volleys of their 
musketry. Their ill-protected bodies were easily cut 
to pieces by the sharp sword of the Spaniard; and 
Hernando Pizarro, putting himself at the head of the 
cavalry, charged boldly into the midst, and scattered 
ihem far and wide over the field, until, panic-struck 

*♦ Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 183. 

»S " Y el marques don Francisco Pi9arro, por tenellos por amigos y 
estuviesen de paz quando alia passasen, les dio algnnos principales los 
quales ellos matavan en presencia de los espanoles, cortandoles laf 
cavezas por el cogote." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 



by the terrible array of steel-clad horsemen and the 
stunning reports and the flash of fire-arms, the fugi- 
tives sought shelter in the depths of their forests. Yet 
the victory vv-as owing, in some degree, at least, — if 
we may credit the Conquerors, — to the interposition 
of Heaven; for St. Michael and his legions were seen 
high in the air above the combatants, contending with 
the arch-enemy of man and cheering on the Christians 
by their example ! ^ 

Not more than three or four Spaniards fell in the 
fight; but many were wounded, and among them Her- 
nando Pizarro, who received a severe injury in the leg 
from a javelin. Nor did the war end here; for the 
implacable islanders, taking advantage of the cover 
of night, or of any remissness on the part of the in- 
vaders, were ever ready to steal out of their fastnesses 
and spring on their enemy's camp, while, by cutting 
off his straggling parties and destroying his provisions, 
they kept him in perpetual alarm. 

In this uncomfortable situation, the Spanish com- 
mander was gladdened by the appearance of two ves- 
sels off the island. They brought a reinforcement 

'^ The city of San Miguel was so named by Pizarro to commemorate 
the event ; and the existence of such a city may be considered by 
some as establishing the truth of the miracle. — " En la batalla de 
Pund vieron muchos, ya de los Indios, ya de los nuestros, que habia 
en el aire otros dos campos, uno acaudillado por el Arcangel S ' Miguel 
con espada y rodela, y otro por Luzbel y sus secuaces ; mas apenas 
cantaron los Castellanos la victoria huyeron los diablos, y formando 
im gran torvellino de viento se oyeron en el aire unas terribles voces 
que decian, Vencistenos! Miguel vencistenos ! De aqui torno D" 
Francisco Pizarro tanta devocion al sto Arcangel, que prometio llamar 
la primera ciidad que fundase de su nombre ; cumpliolo asi como 
veremos adelante." Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1530. 
Peru.— Vol. I, 28 


consisting of a hundred volunteers, besides horses for 
the cavalry. It was commanded by Hernando de 
Soto, a captain afterwards famous as the discoverer 
of the Mississippi, which still rolls its majestic cur- 
rent over the place of his burial, — a fitting monument 
for his remains, as it is of his renown.^ 

This reinforcement was most welcome to Pizarro, 
who had been long discontented with his position 
on an island, where he found nothing to compensate 
the life of unintermitting hostility which he was com- 
pelled to lead. With these recruits he felt himself in 
sufficient strength to cross over to the continent and 
resume military operations on the proper theatre for 
discovery and conquest. From the Indians of Tum- 
bez he learned that the country had been for some 
time distracted by a civil war between two sons of 
the late monarch, competitors for the throne. This 
intelligence he regarded as of the utmost importance, 
for he remembered the use which Cortes had made of 
similar dissensions among the tribes of Anahuac. In- 
deed, Pizarro seems to have had the example of his 
great predecessor before his eyes on more occasions 
than this. But he fell far short of his model ; for, 
notwithstanding the restraint he sometimes put upon 
himself, his coarser nature and more ferocious temper 
often betrayed him into acts most repugnant to sound 
policy, which would never have been countenanced 
by the Conqueror of Mexico. 

»7 The transactions in Puni are given at more or less length by 
Naharro, Relation sumaria, MS. — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. — Pedro 
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Montesinos, Annales, MS., ubi supra. 
— Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. 
Barcia, torn. iii. pp. 183. 183. 






Before accompanying the march of Pizarro and 
his followers into the country of the Incas, it is neces- 
sary to make the reader acquainted with the critical 
situation of the kingdom at that time. For the Span- 
iards arrived just at the consummation of an impor- 
tant revolution, — a crisis most favorable to their views 
of conquest, and one, indeed, but for which the con- 
quest, with such a handful of soldiers, could never 
have been achieved. 

In the latter part of the fifteenth century died Tu- 
pac Inca Yupanqui, one of the most renowned of the 
"Children of the Sun," who, carrying the Peruvian 
arms across the burning sands of Atacama, penetrated 
to the remote borders of Chili, while in the opposite 
direction he enlarged the limits of the empire by the 
acquisition of the southern provinces of Quito. The 
war in this quarter was conducted by his son Huayna 
Capac, who succeeded his father on the throne, and 
fully equalled him in military daring and in capacity 
for government. 

Under this prince, the whole of the powerful state 
of Quito, which rivalled that of Peru itself in wealth 
and refinement, was brought under the sceptre of the 



Incas ; whose empire received by this conquest the 
most important accession yet made to it since the 
foundation of the dynasty of Manco Capac. The re- 
maining days of the victorious monarch were passed in 
reducing the independent tribes on the remote limits 
of his territory, and, still more, in cementing his con- 
quests by the introduction of the Peruvian polity. 
He was actively engaged in completing the great 
works of his father, especially the high-roads which 
led from Quito to the capital. He perfected the 
establishment of posts, took great pains to introduce 
the Quichua dialect throughout the empire, promoted 
a better system of agriculture, and, in fine, encouraged 
the different branches of domestic industry and the 
various enlightened plans of his predecessors for the 
improvement of his people. Under his sway the 
Peruvian monarchy reached its most palmy state; and 
under both him and his illustrious father it was ad- 
vancing with such rapid strides in the march of civil- 
ization as would soon have carried it to a level with 
the more refined despotisms of Asia, furnishing the 
world, perhaps, with higher evidence of the capabili- 
ties of the American Indian than is elsewhere to be 
found on the great Western continent. But other 
and gloomier destinies were in reserve for the Indian 

The first arrival of the white men on the South 
American shores of the Pacific was about ten years be- 
fore the death of Huayna Capac, when Balboa crossed 
the Gulf of St. Michael and obtained the first clear 
report of the empire of the Incas. Whether tidings 
of these adventurers reached the Indian monarch's 



cars is doubtful. There is no doubt, however, that 
he obtained the news of the first expedition under 
Pizarro and Almagro, when the latter commander 
penetrated as far as the Rio de San Juan, about the 
fourth degree north. The accounts which he received 
made a strong impression on the mind of Huayna 
Capac. He discerned in the formidable prowess and 
weapons of the invaders proofs of a civilization far 
superior to that of his own people. He intimated 
his apprehension that they would return, and that at 
some day, not far distant perhaps, the throne of the 
Incas might be shaken by these strangers endowed 
with such incomprehensible powers.' To the vulgar 
eye, it was a little speck on the verge of the horizon ; 
but that of the sagacious monarch seemed to descry in 
it the dark thunder-cloud that was to spread wider 
and wider till it burst in fury on his nation. 

There is some ground for believing thus much. But 
other accounts, which have obtained a popular cur- 
rency, not content with this, connect the first tidings 
of the white men with predictions long extant in the 
country, and with supernatural appearances which 
filled the hearts of the whole nation with dismay. 
Comets were seen flaming athwart the heavens. Earth- 
quakes shook the land; the moon was girdled with 
rings of fire of many colors; a thunderbolt fell on 
one of the royal palaces and consumed it to ashes; 
and an eagle, chased by several hawks, was seen, 
screaming in the air, to hover above the great square 
of Cuzco, when, pierced by the talons of his tor- 

' Sarmiento, an honest authority, tells us he had this from some of 
the Inca lords who heard it. Relacion, MS., cap. 65. 


mentors, the king of birds fell lifeless in the pres- 
ence of many of the Inca nobles, who read in this 
an augury of their own destruction. Huayna Capac 
himself, calling his great officers around him, as he 
found he was drawing near his end, announced the 
subversion of his empire by the race of white and 
bearded strangers, as the consummation predicted by 
the oracles after the reign of the twelfth Inca, and he 
enjoined it on his vassals not to resist the decrees of 
Heaven, but to yield obedience to its messengers.' 

Such is the report of the impressions made by the 
appearance of the Spaniards in the country, remind- 
ing one of the similar feelings of superstitious terror 
occasioned by their appearance in Mexico. But the 
traditions of the latter land rest on much higher 
authority than those of the Peruvians, which, unsup- 
ported by contemporary testimony, rest almost wholly 
on the naked assertion of one of their own nation, 
who thought to find, doubtless, in the inevitable de- 
crees of Heaven, the best apology for the supineness 
of his countrymen. 

It is not improbable tha-t rumors of the advent of a 
strange and mysterious race should have spread grad- 
ually among the Indian tribes along the great table- 

» A minute relation of these supernatural occurrences is given by 
>hc Inca Garcilasso de la Vega (Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 9. cap. 14), 
whose situation opened to him the very best sources of information, 
which is more than counterbalanced by the defects in his own char- 
acter as an historian, — his childish credulity, and his desire to magnify 
and mystify every thing relating to his own order, and, indeed, his 
nation. His work is the source of most of the facts — and the false- 
hoods — that have obtained circulation in respect to the ancient Peru- 
vi.ins. Unfortunately, at this distance of time it is not always easy to 
distinguish the one from the other. 



land of the Cordilleras, and should have shaken the 
hearts of the stoutest warriors with feelings of unde- 
fined dread, as of some impending calamity. In this 
state of mind, it was natural that physical convul- 
sions, to which that volcanic country is peculiarly 
subject, should have made an unwonted impression 
on their minds, and that the phenomena which might 
have been regarded only as extraordinary, in the usual 
seasons of political security, should now be interpreted 
by the superstitious soothsayer as the handwriting on 
the heavens, by which the God of the Incas proclaimed 
the approaching downfall of their empire. 

Huayna Capac had, as usual with the Peruvian 
princes, a multitude of concubines, by whom he left 
a numerous posterity. The heir to the crown, the 
son of his lawful wife and sister, was named Huas- 
car.3 At the period of the history at which we are 
now arrived, he was about thirty years of age. Next 
to the heir-apparent, by another wife, a cousin of the 
monarch's, came Manco Capac, a young prince who 
will occupy an important place in our subsequent 
story. But the best-beloved of the Inca's children 

3 Huascar, in the Quichua dialect, signifies " a cable." The reason 
of its being given to the heir-apparent is remarkable. Huayna Capao 
celebrated the birth of the prince by a festival, in which he introduced 
a massive gold chain for the nobles to hold in their hands as they per- 
formed their national dances. The chain was seven hundred feet in 
length, and the links nearly as big round as a man's wrist! (See 
Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 14. — Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 
1, lib. 9, cap. I.) The latter writer had the particulars, he tells us, 
from his old Inca uncle, — who seems to have dealt largely in the mar- 
vellous ; not too largely for his audience, however, as the story has 
been circulated without scruple by most of the Castilian writers both 
if that and of the succeeding age. 


was Atahuallpa. His mother was the daughter of the 
last Scyri of Quito, who had died of grief, it was 
said, not long after the subversion of his kingdom by 
Huaj^na Capac. The princess was beautiful, and the 
Inca, whether to gratify his passion, or, as the Peru- 
vians say, willing to make amends for the ruin of her 
parents, received her among his concubines. The 
historians of Quito assert that she was his lawful wife; 
but this dignity, according to the usages of the em-^ 
pire, was reserved for maidens of the Inca blood. 

The latter years of Huayna Capac were passed in 
his new kingdom of Quito. Atahuallpa was accord- 
ingly brought up under his own eye, accompanied 
him, while in his tender years, in his campaigns, 
slept in the same tent with his royal father, and ate 
from the same plate. •♦ The vivacity of the boy, his 
courage and generous nature, won the affections of 
the old monarch to such a degree that he resolved 
to depart from the established usages of the realm 
and divide his empire between him and his elder 
brother Huascar. On his death-bed he called the 
great officers of the crown around him, and declared 
it to be his will that the ancient kingdom of Quito 
should pass to Atahuallpa, who might be considered 
as having a natural claim on it, as the dominion of 
his ancestors. The rest of the empire he settled on 
Huascar; and he enjoined it on the two brothers to 
acquiesce in this arrangement and to live in amity 

■♦ " Atabalipa era bien quisto de los Capitanes viejos de su Padre y 
de los Soldados, porque andubo en la gucrra en su ninez y porque ^1 
en vida le mostro fanto amor que no le dejaba comer otra cosa que lo 
que ^1 le daba de su plato." Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 66. 



with each other. This was the last act of the heroic 
monarch ; doubtless the most impolitic of his whole life. 
With his dying breath he subverted the fundamental 
laws of the empire; and, while he recommended har- 
mony between the successors to his authority, he left 
in this very division of it the seeds of inevitable 
discord. 5 

His death took place, as seems probable, at the 
close of 1525, not quite seven years before Pizarro's 
arrival at Puna.* The tidings of his decease spread 
sorrow and consternation throughout the land; for, 
though stern and even inexorable to the rebel and 
the long-resisting foe, he was a brave and magnani- 
mous monarch, and legislated with the enlarged views 
of a prince who regarded every part of his domin- 
ions as equally his concern. The people of Quito, 
flattered by the proofs which he had given of prefer- 
ence for them by his permanent residence in that 
country and his embellishment of their capital, mani- 
fested unfeigned sorrow at his loss ; and his sub- 

5 Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte i, lib. 8, cap. 9. — Zarate, 
Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 12. — Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 65. — 
Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 2or. 

* The precise date of this event, though so near the time of the 
Conquest, is matter of doubt. Balboa, a contemporary with the Con- 
querors, and who wrote at Quito, where the Inca died, fixes it at 1525. 
(Hist, du Perou, chap. 14.) Velasco, another inhabitant of the same 
place, after an investigation of the different accounts, comes to the 
like conclusion. (Hist, de Quito, torn. i. p. 232.) Dr. Robertson, 
ifter telling us that Huayna Capac died in 1529, speaks again of this 
event as having happened in 1527. (Conf America, vol. iii. pp. 25, 
381.) Any one who has been bewildered by the chronological snarl 
of the ancient chronicles will not be surprised at meeting occasionally 
with such inconsistencies in a writer who is obliged to take them as 
hi; guides. 


jects at Cuzco, proud of the glory which his arms 
and his abilities had secured for his native land, held 
him in no less admiration ;7 while the more thought- 
ful and the more timid, in both countries, looked 
with apprehension to the future, when the sceptre 
of the vast empire, instead of being swayed by an 
old and experienced hand, was to be consigned to 
rival princes, naturally jealous of one another, and, 
from their age, necessarily exposed to the unwhole- 
some influence of crafty and ambitious counsellors. 
The people testified their regret by the unwonted 
honors paid to the memory of the deceased Inca. 
His heart was retained in Quito, and his body, em- 
balmed after the fashion of the country, was trans- 
ported to Cuzco, to take its place in the great temple 
of the Sun, by the side of the remains of his royal 
ancestors. His obsequies were celebrated with san- 
guinary splendor in both the capitals of his far-ex- 
tended empire ; and several thousand of the imperial 
concubines, with numerous pages and officers of the 
palace, are said to have proved their sorrow, or their 
superstition, by offering up their own lives, that they 
might accompany their departed lord to the bright 
mansions of the Sun.* 

For nearly five years after the death of Huayna 
Capac, the royal brothers reigned, each over his al- 

7 One cannot doubt this monarch's popularity with the female part 
of his subjects, at least, if, as the historian of the Incas tells us, " he 
wav never known to refuse a woman, of whatever age or degree she 
might be, any favor that she asked of him" ! Com. Real., Parte i, lib 
8, cap. 7. 

8 Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., cap. 65. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec 
5, lib. 3, cap. 17, 



lotted portion of the empire, without distrust of one 
another, or, at least, without collision. It seemed as 
if the wish of their father was to be completely real- 
ized, and that the two states were to maintain their 
respective integrity and independence as much as if 
they had never been united into one. But, with the 
manifold causes for jealousy and discontent, and the 
swarms of courtly sycophants who would find their 
account in fomenting these feelings, it was easy to see 
that this tranquil state of things could not long en- 
dure. Nor would it have endured so long, but for the 
more gentle temper of Huascar, the only party who 
had ground for complaint. He was four or five years 
older than his brother, and was possessed of courage 
not to be doubted ; but he was a prince of a generous 
and easy nature, and perhaps, if left to himself, might 
have acquiesced in an arrangement which, however 
unpalatable, was the will of his deified father. But 
Atahuallpa was of a different temper. Warlike, am- 
bitious, and daring, he was constantly engaged in 
enterprises for the enlargement of his own territory; 
though his crafty policy was scrupulous not to aim at 
extending his acquisitions in the direction of his royal 
brother. His restless spirit, however, excited some 
alarm at the court of Cuzco, and Huascar at length 
sent an envoy to Atahuallpa, to remonstrate with him 
on his ambitious enterprises, and to require him to 
render him homage for his kingdom of Quito. 

This is one statement. Other accounts pretend that 
the immediate cause of rupture was a claim instituted 
by Huascar for the territory of Tumebamba, held by 
his brother as part of his patrimonial inheritance. It 


matters little what was the ostensible ground of col- 
lision between persons placed by circumstances in so 
false a position in regard to one another that collision 
must, at some time or other, inevitably occur. 

The commencement, and, indeed, the whole course, 
of hostilities which soon broke out between the rival 
brothers are stated with irreconcilable and, consider- 
ing the period was so near to that of the Spanish in- 
vasion, with unaccountable discrepancy. By some it 
is said that in Atahuallpa's first encounter with the 
troops of Cuzco he was defeated and made prisoner 
near Tumebamba, a favorite residence of his father, 
in the ancient territory of Quito a.ui in the district 
of Canaris. From this disaster he recovered by a for- 
tunate escape from confinement, when, regaining his 
capital, he soon found himself at the head of a nlimer- 
ous army, led by the most able and experienced cap- 
tains in the empire. The liberal manners of the young 
Atahuallpa had endeared him to the soldiers, with 
whom, as we have seen, he served more than one cam- 
paign in his father's lifetime. These troops were the 
flower of the great army of the Inca, and some of them 
had grown gray in his long military career, which had 
left them at the north, where they readily transferred 
their allegiance to the young sovereign of Quito. They 
were commanded by two officers of great considera- 
tion, both possessed of large experience in military 
^'.ffairs and high in the confidence of the late Inca. 
One of them was named Quizquiz ; the other, who 
was the maternal uncle of Atahuallpa, was called 

With these practised warriors to guide him, the 



young monarch put himself at the head of his martial 
array and directed his march towards the south. He 
had not advanced farther than Ambato, about sixty 
miles distant from his capital, when he fell in with a 
numerous host which had been sent against him by his 
brother, under the command of a distinguished chief- 
tain, of the Inca family. A bloody battle followed, 
which lasted the greater part of the day; and the 
theatre of combat was the skirts of the mighty Chim- 

The battle ended favorably for Atahuallpa, and the 
Peruvians were routed with great slaughter and the 
loss of their commander. The prince of Quito availed 
himself of his advantage to push forward his march 
until he arrived before the gates of Tumebamba, which 
city, as well as the whole district of Canaris, though 
an ancient dependency of Quito, had sided with his 
rival in the contest. Entering the captive city like a 
conqueror, he put the inhabitants to the sword, and 
razed it with all its stately edifices, some of which had 
been reared by his own father, to the ground. He car- 
ried on the same war of extermination as he marched 
through the offending district of Canaris. In some 
places, it is said, bands of children, as well as of older 
persons, were sent out, in melancholy procession, with 

9 Garcilasso denies that any thing but insignificant skirmishes took 
place before the decisive action fought on the plains of Cuzco. But 
Sarmiento, who gathered his accounts of these events, as he tells us, 
from the actors in them, walked over the field of battle at Ambato, 
when the ground was still covered with the bones of the slain : " Yo 
tie pasado por este Pueblo y he visto el Lugar donde dicen que esta 
Batalla se dio, y cierto segun hay la osamenta devieron aun de mcrir 
mas gente de la que cuentan." Relacion, MS., cap. 69. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — p 29 


green branches in their hands, to deprecate his wrath ; 
but the vindictive conqueror, deaf to their entreaties, 
laid the country waste with fire and sword, sparing no 
man capable of bearing arms who fell into his hands.'" 
The fate of Canaris struck terror into the hearts of 
his enemies, and one place after another opened its 
gates to the victor, who held on his triumphant march 
towards the Peruvian capital. His arms experienced a 
temporary check before the island of Puna, whose bold 
warriors maintained tl.e cause of his brother. After 
some days lost before this place, Atahuallpa left the 
contest to their old enemies, the people of Tumbez, 
who had early given in their adhesion to him, while he 
resumed his march and advanced as far as Caxamalca, 
about seven degrees south. Here he halted with a de- 
tachment of the army, sending forward the main body 
imder the command of his two generals, with orders to 
move straight upon Cuzco. He preferred not to trust 
himself farther in the enemy's country, where a defeat 
might be fatal. By establishing his quarters at Caxa- 
malca, he would be able to support his generals in case 
of a reverse, or, at worst, to secure his retreat on 

" " Cuentan muchos Indios d quien yo lo oi, que por amansar su 
ira, mandaron i un escuadron grande de ninos y i. otro de hombres 
de toda edad, que saliesen hasta las ricas andas donde venia con gran 
pompa, Uevando en las manos ramos verdes y ojas de palma, y que le 
pidiesen la gracia y amistad suya para el pueblo, sin mirar la injuria 
pasada, y que en tantos clamores se lo suplicaron, y con tanta hu- 
mildad, que bastara quebrantar corazones de piedra ; mas poca im- 
presion hicieron en el cruel de Atabalipa, porque dicen que mand6 
ii sus capitanes y gentes que matasen d todos aquellos que habian 
venido, lo cual fue hecho, no perdonando sino i algunos ninos y 
4 las mugeres sagradas del Templo." Sarmiento, Relacion, MS., 
cap. 70. 



Quito until he was again in condition to renew hos- 

The two commanders, advancing by rapid marches, 
at length crossed the Apurimac River, and arrived 
within a short distance of the Peruvian capital. Mean- 
while, Huascar had not been idle. On receiving 
tidings of the discomfiture of his army at Ambato, 
he made every exertion to raise levies throughout the 
country. By the advice, it is said, of his priests, — 
the most incompetent advisers in times of danger, — he 
chose to await the approach of the enemy in his own 
capital ; and it was not till the latter had arrived 
within a few leagues of Cuzco that the Inca, taking 
counsel of the same ghostly monitors, sallied forth to 
give him battle. 

The two armies met on the plains of Quipaypan, in 
the neighborhood of the Indian metropolis. Their 
numbers are stated with the usual discrepancy; but 
Atahuallpa's troops had considerably the advantage 
in discipline and experience, for many of Huascar's 
levies had been drawn hastily together from the sur- 
rounding country. Both fought, however, with the 
desperation of men who felt that every thing was at 
stake. It was no longer a contest for a province, but 
for the possession of an empire. Atahuallpa's troops, 
flushed with recent success, fought with the confidence 
of those who relied on their superior prowess; while 
the loyal vassals of the Inca displayed all the self-de- 
votion of men who held their own lives cheap in the 
service of their master. 

The fight raged with the greatest obstinacy from 
sunrise to sunset; and the ground was covered with 


heaps of the dying and the dead, whose bones lay 
bleaching on the battle-field long after the conquest 
by the Spaniards. At length, fortune declared in 
favor of Atahuallpa, or, rather, the usual result of su- 
perior discipline and military practice followed. The 
ranks of the Inca were thrown into irretrievable dis- 
order, and gave way in all directions. The conquer- 
ors followed close on the heels of the flying. Huas- 
car himself, among the latter, endeavored to make his 
escape with about a thousand men who remained round 
his person. But the royal fugitive was discovered 
before he had left the field; his little party was en- 
veloped by clouds of the enemy, and nearly every 
one of the devoted band perished in defence of their 
Inca. Huascar was made prisoner, and the victorious 
chiefs marched at once on his capital, which they 
occupied in the name of their sovereign." 

These events occurred in the spring of 1532, a few 
months before the landing of the Spaniards. The 
tidings of the success of his arms and the capture of 
his unfortunate brother reached Atahuallpa at Caxa- 
malca. He instantly gave orders that Huascar should 
be treated with the respect due to his rank, but that 
he should be removed to the strong fortress of Xauxa 
and held there in strict confinement. His orders did 
not stop here, — if we are to receive the accounts of 
Garcilasso de la Vega, himself of the Inca race, and by 
his mother's side nephew of the great Huayna Capac. 

" Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 77. — Oviedo, Hist, de las Indiah, 
MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 9. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn, 
iii. p. 202. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. i, cap. 12. — Sarmiento, Rela- 
cion, MS., cap. 70. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 



According to this authority, Atahuallpa invited the 
Inca nobles throughout the country to assemble at 
Cuzco, in order to deliberate on the best means of 
partitioning the empire between him and his brother. 
When they had met in the capital, they were sur- 
rounded by the soldiery of Quito and butchered with- 
out mercy. The motive for this perfidious act was to 
exterminate the whole of the royal family, who might 
each one of them show a better title to the crown 
than the illegitimate Atahuallpa. But the massacre 
did not end here. The illegitimate offspring, like 
himself, half-brothers of the monster, all, in short, 
who had any of the Inca blood in their veins, were 
involved in it; and, with an appetite for carnage un- 
paralleled in the annals of the Roman Empire or 
of the French Republic, Atahuallpa ordered all the 
females of the blood royal, his aunts, nieces, and 
cousins, to be put to death, and that, too, with the 
most refined and lingering tortures. To give greater 
zest to his revenge, many of the executions took place 
in the presence of Huascar himself, who was thus com- 
pelled to witness the butchery of his own wives and 
sisters, while, in the extremity of anguish, they in vain 
called on him to protect them ! " 

" Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 9, cap. 35-39. — "A las Mu- 
geres, Hermanas, Tias, Sobrinas, Primas Hermanas, y Madrastras 
de Atahuallpa, colgavan de los Arboles, y de muchas Horcas mui 
altas que hicieron : \ unas colgaron de los cabellos, Ji otras por debajo 
de los bra9os, y k otras de otras maneras feas, que por la honestidad 
se callan : davanles sus hijuelos, que los tuviesen en bra90s, tenianlos 
hasta que se les caian, y se aporreavan." (Ibid., cap. 37.) The 
variety of torture shows some invention in the writer, or, more prob- 
ably, in the writer's uncle, the ancient Inca, the raconteur of these 
Bluebeard butcheries. 



Such is the tale told by the historian of the Incas, 
and received by him, as he assures us, from his mother 
and uncle, who, being children at the time, were so 
fortunate as to be among the few that escaped the 
massacre of their house. '^ And such is the account 
repeated by many a Castilian writer since, without 
any symptom of distrust. But a tissue of unpro- 
voked atrocities like these is too repugnant to the 
principles of human nature — and, indeed, to common 
sense — to warrant our belief in them on ordinary 

The annals of semi-civilized nations unhappily show 
that there have been instances of similar attempts to 
extinguish the whole of a noxious race which had be 
come the object of a tyrant's jealousy; though such 
an attempt is about as chimerical as it would be to 
extirpate any particular species of plant the seeds of 
which had been borne on every wind over the country. 
But, if the attempt to exterminate the Inca race was 
actually made by Atahuallpa, how comes it that so 
many of the pure descendants of the blood royal — 
nearly six hundred in number — are admitted by the 
historian to have been in existence seventy years after 
the imputed massacre ? "* Why was the massacre, in- 

-3 " Las crueldades, que Atahuallpa en los de la Sangre Real hi^o, 
dir^ de Relacion de mi Madre, y de un Hermano suio, que se llamo 
Don Fernando Huallpa Tupac Inca Yupanqui, que entonces eran 
IJiiios de menos de diez Anos." Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 
9, cap. 14. 

••♦ This appears from a petition for certain immunities, forwarded to 
Spain in 1603, and signed by five hundred and sixty-seven Indians of 
the royal Inca race. (Ibid., Parte 3, lib. 9, cap. 40.) Oviedo says 
that Huayna Capac left a hundred sons and daughters, and that mcst 



stead of being limited to the legitimate members of 
the royal stock, who could show a better title to the 
crown than the usurper, extended to all, however re- 
motely or in whatever way, connected with the race? 
Why were aged women and young maidens involved 
in the proscription, and why were they subjected to 
such refined and superfluous tortures, when it is ob- 
vious that beings so impotent could have done nothing 
to provoke the jealousy of the tyrant ? Why, when 
so many were sacrificed from some vague apprehen- 
sion of distant danger, was his rival Huascar, together 
with his younger brother Manco Capac, the two men 
from whom the conqueror had most to fear, suffered 
to live? Why, in short, is the wonderful tale not re- 
corded by others before the time of Garcilasso, and 
nearer by half a century to the events themselves ?'5 

That Atahuallpa may have been guilty of excesses, 
and abused the rights of conquest by some gratuitous 
acts of cruelty, may be readily believed ; for no one 
who calls to mind his treatment of the Canaris — 
which his own apologists do not affect to deny'* — 

of tliejn were alive at the time of his writing : " Tubo cien hijos y hijas, 
y la mayor parte de ellos son vivos." Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 
3, lib. 8, cap. 9. 

'5 I have looked in vain for some confirmation of this story in 
Oviedo, Sarmiento, Xerez, Cieza de Leon, Zarate, Pedro Pizarro, Go- 
mara, — all living at the time, and having access to the best sovirces 
of information, and all, it may be added, disposed to do stern justice 
to the evil qualities of the Indian monarch. 

■' Xo one of the apologists of Atahuallpa goes quite so far as Father 
Velasco, who, in the overflowings of his loyalty for a Quito monarch, 
regards his massacre of the Caiiaris as a very fair retribution for their 
offences : " Si les auteurs dont je viens de parler s'etaient trouves dans 
les memes circonstances qu'Atahuallpa et avaient eprouve autant 


will doubt that lie had a full measure of the vindictive 
temper which belongs to 

" Those souls of fire, and Children of the Sun, 
With whom revenge was virtue." 

But there is a wide difference between this and the 
monstrous and most unprovoked atrocities imputed to 
him, implying a diabolical nature not to be admitted 
on the evidence of an Indian partisan, the sworn foe 
of his house, and repeated by Castilian chroniclers, 
wno may naturally seek, by blazoning the enormities 
of Atahuallpa, to find some apology for the cruelty of 
their countrymen towards him. 

The news of the great victory was borne on the 
wings of the wind to Caxamalca; and loud and long 
was the rejoicing, not only in the camp of Atahuallpa, 
but in the town and surrounding country j for all now 
came in, eager to offer their congratulations to the 
victor and do him homage. The prince of Quito no 
longer hesitated to assume the scarlet borla, the dia- 
dem of the Incas. His triumph was complete. He 
had beaten his enemies on their own ground, had 
taken their capital, had set his foot on the neck of his 
rival, and won for himself the ancient sceptre of the 
Children of the Sun. But the hour of triumph was 
destined to be that of his deepest humiliation. Ata- 
huallpa was not one of those to whom, in the language 
of the Grecian bard, "the gods are willing to reveal 
themselves."'^ He had not read the handwriting on 

d'offenses graves et de trahisons, je ne croirai jamais qu'ils eusscnt agi 
autrement." Hist, de Quito, torn. i. p. 253. 

'7 " Ov yap TTw TTuvTeaai deol (paivovrai tvapyuq." 

OATS. TT, V. 161. 


the heavens. The small speck which the clear-e-ighted 
eye of his father had discerned on the distant verge of 
the horizon, though little noticed by Atahuallpa, intent 
on the deadly strife with his brother, had now risen high 
towards the zenith, spreading wider and wider, till it 
wrapped the skies in darkness and was ready to burst 
in thunders on the devoted nation. 




We left the Spaniards at the island of Puna, pre- 
paring to make their descent on the neighboring con- 
tinent at Tumbez. This port was but a few leagues 
distant, and Pizarro, with the greater part of his fol- 
lowers, passed over in the ships, while a few others 
were to transport the commander's baggage and the 
military stores on some of the Indian balsas. One of 
the latter vessels which first touched the shore was sur- 
rounded, and three persons who were on the raft were 
carried off by the natives to the adjacent woods and 
there massacred. The Indians then got possession of 
another of the balsas, containing Pizarro's wardrobe ; 
but, as the men who defended it raised loud cries for 
help, they reached the ears of Hernando Pizarro, who, 
with a small body of horse, had effected a landing 
some way farther down the shore. A broad tract of 
miry ground, overflowed at high water, lay between 
him and the party thus rudely assailed by the natives. 
The tide was out, and the bottom was soft and danger- 



ous. With little regard to the danger, however, the 
bold cavalier spurred his horse into the slimy depths, 
and, followed by his men, with the mud up to their 
saddle-girths, plunged forward into the midst of the 
marauders, who, terrified by the strange apparition of 
the horsemen, fled precipitately, without show of fight, 
to the neighboring forests. 

This conduct of the natives of Tumbez is not easy 
to be explained, considering the friendly relations 
maintained with the Spaniards on their preceding 
visit, and lately renewed in the island of Puna. But 
Pizarro was still more astonished, on entering their 
town, to find it not only deserted, but, with the ex- 
ception of a few buildings, entirely demolished. Four 
or five of the most substantial private dwellings, the 
great temple, and the fortress — and these greatly dam- 
aged, and wholly despoiled of their interior decora- 
tions — alone survived to mark the site of the city and 
attest its former splendor.' The scene of desolation 
filled the conquerors with dismay; for even the raw 
recruits, who had never visited the coast before, had 
heard the marvellous stories of the golden treasures of 
Tumbez, and they had confidently looked forward to 
them as an easy spoil after all their fatigues. But the 
gold of Peru seemed only like a deceitful phantom, 
which, after beckoning them on through toil and 
danger, vanished the moment they attempted to grasp it. 

' Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 185. — " Aunque lo 
del templo del Sol en quien ellos adoran era cosa de ver, porque 
tenian grandes edific.ios, y todo el por de dentro y de fuera pintado de 
grandes pinturas y ricos matizes de colcres, porque los hay en aquella 
tierra." Relaciou del primer Descub., MS. 


Pizarro despatched a small body of troops in pursuit 
of the fugitives ; and, after some slight skirmishing, 
they got possession of several of the natives, and 
among them, as it chanced, the curaca of the place. 
When brought before the Spanish commander, he ex- 
onerated himself from any share in the violence offered 
to the white men, saying that it was done by a lawless 
party of his people, without his knowledge at the time; 
and he expressed his willingness to deliver them up to 
punishment, if they could be detected. He explained 
the dilapidated condition of the town by the long wars 
carried on with the fierce tribes of Puna, who had at 
length succeeded in getting possession of the place 
and driving the inhabitants into the neighboring woods 
and mountains. The Inca, to whose cause they were 
attached, was too much occupied with his own feuds to 
protect them against their enemies. 

Whether Pizarro gave any credit to the cacique's 
exculpation of himself may be doubted. He dissembled 
his suspicions, however, and, as the Indian lord prom- 
ised obedience in his own name and that of his vassals, 
the Spanish general consented to take no further notice 
of the affair. He seems now to have felt for the first 
time, in its full force, that it was his policy to gain the 
good will of the people among whom he had thrown 
himself in the face of such tremendous odds. It was, 
perhaps, the excesses of which his men had been guilty 
in the earlier stages of the expedition that had shaken 
the confidence of the people of Tumbez and incited 
them to this treacherous retaliation. 

Pizarro inquired of the natives who now, under 
promise of impunity, came into the camp, what had 



become of his two followers that remained with them 
in the former expedition. The answers they gave were 
obscure and contradictory. Some said they had died 
of an epidemic ; others, that they had perished in the 
war with Puna; and others intimated that they had 
lost their lives in consequence of some outrage at- 
tempted on the Indian women. It was impossible to 
arrive at the truth. The last account was not the least 
probable. But, whatever might be the cause, there 
was no doubt they had both perished. 

This intelligence spread an additional gloom over 
the Spaniards, which was not dispelled by the flaming 
pictures now given by the natives of the riches of the 
land, and of the state and magnificence of the monarch 
in his distant capital among the mountains. Nor did 
they credit the authenticity of a scroll of paper which 
Pizarro had obtained from an Indian to whoni it had 
been delivered by one of the white men left in the 
country. "Know, whoever you may be," said the 
writing, "that may chance to set foot in this country, 
that it contains more gold and silver than there is iron 
in Biscay." This paper, when shown to the soldiers, 
excited only their ridicule, as a device of their captain 
to keep alive their chimerical hopes.' 

Pizarro now saw that it was not politic to protract 
his stay in his present quarters, where a spirit of dis- 
affection would soon creep into the ranks of his fol- 

' For the account of the transactions in Tumbez, see Pedro Pizarro, 
Descub. y Conq., MS. — Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, 
lib. 8, cap. I. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Herrera, Hist, 
general, dec. 4, lib. 9, cap. i, 2. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, 
torn. iii. p. 185. 

Peru. — Vol. I. 30 


lowers unless their spirits were stimulated by novelty 
or a life of incessant action. Yet he felt deeply anx- 
ious to obtain more particulars than he had hitherto 
gathered of the actual condition of the Peruvian em- 
pire, of its strength and resources, of the monarch who 
ruled over it, and of his present situation. He was 
also desirous, before taking any decisive step for pene- 
trating the country, to seek out some commodious 
place for a settlement, which might afford him the 
means of a regular communication with the colonies, 
and a place of strength, on which he himself might 
retreat in case of disaster. 

He decided, therefore, to leave part of his company 
at Tumbez, including those who, from the state of 
their health, were least able to take the field, and with 
the remainder to make an excursion into the interior 
and reconnoitre the land, before deciding on any plan 
of operations. He set out early in May, 1532, and, 
keeping along the more level regions himself, sent a 
small detachment under the command of Hernando de 
Soto to explore the skirts of the vast sierra. 

He maintained a rigid discipline on the march, com- 
manding his soldiers to abstain from all acts of violence, 
and punishing disobedience in the most prompt and 
resolute manner. ^ The natives rarely offered resist- 
ance. When they did so, they were soon reduced, 
and Pizarro, far from adopting vindictive measures, 
was open to the first demonstrations of submission. 

3 " Mando el Gobernador por pregon ^ so graves penas que no le 
fuese hecha fuerza ni descortesia, e que se les hiciese muy buen trata- 
miento por los Espanoles e sus criados." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indiaa, 
MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 2. 


By this lenient and liberal policy he soon acquired a 
name among the inhabitants which effaced the unfavor- 
able impressions made of him in the earlier part of the 
campaign. The natives, as he marched through the 
thick-settled hamlets which sprinkled the level region 
between the Cordilleras and the ocean, welcomed him 
with rustic hospitality, providing good quarters for his 
troops, and abundant supplies, which cost but little in 
the prolific soil of the tierra caliente. Everywhere 
Pizarro made proclamation that he came in the name 
of the Holy Vicar of God and of the sovereign of 
Spain, requiring the obedience of the inhabitants as 
true children of the Church and vassals of his lord and 
master. And, as the simple people made no opposi- 
tion to a formula of which they could not comprehend 
a syllable, they were admitted as good subjects of the 
crown of Castile, and their act of homage — or what 
was readily interpreted as such — was duly recorded and 
attested by the notary. "» 

At the expiration of some three or four weeks spent 
in reconnoitring the country, Pizarro came to the con- 
clusion that the most eligible site for his new settle- 
ment was in the rich valley of Tangarala, thirty leagues 
south of Tumbez, traversed by more than one stream 

* " E mandabales notificar 6 dar d entender con las lenguas el re- 
querimiento que su Magestad manda que se les haga d los Indies para 
traellos en conocimiento de nuestra Santa fe catolica, y requiriendoles 
con lapaz, i que obedezcand la Iglesia Catolica eApostolica de Roma, 
€ en lo temporal den la obediencia d su Magestad e d los Reyes sus 
succesores en los regnos de Castilla i de Leon ; respondieron que asi 
lo queriar. e harian, guardarian e cumplirian enteramente; e el 
Gobernador los recibio por tales vasallos de sus Magestades por auto 
publico de notaries." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., ubi supra. 


that opens a communication with the ocean. To this 
spot, accordingly, he ordered the men left at Tumbez 
to repair at once in their vessels ; and no sooner had 
they arrived than busy preparations were made for 
building up the town in a manner suited to the wants, 
of the colony. Timber was procured from the neigh- 
boring woods, stones were dragged from their quar- 
ries, and edifices gradually rose, some of which made 
pretensions to strength, if not to elegance. Among 
them were a church, a magazine for public stores, a 
hall of justice, and a fortress. A municipal govern- 
ment was organized, consisting of regidores, alcaldes, 
and the usual civic functionaries. The adjacent terri- 
tory was parcelled out among the residents, and each 
colonist had a certain number of the natives allotted 
to assist him in his labors; for, as Pizarro's secretary 
remarks, "it being evident that the colonists could not 
support themselves without the services of the Indians, 
the ecclesiastics and the leaders of the expedition all 
agreed that a repartimiento of the natives would serve 
the cause of religion, and tend greatly to their spiritual 
welfare, since they would thus have the opportunity of 
being initiated in the true faith." ^ 

5 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 
— Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 55. — Relacion del primer Descub., 
MS. — " Porque los Vecinos, sin aiuda i servicios de los Naturales no 
se podian sostener, ni poblarse el Pueblo. ... A esta causa, con 
acuerdo de el Religioso, i de los Oficiales, que les parecio convenir asi 
al senicio de Dios, i bien de los Naturales, el Gobemador depositd 
los Caciques, i Indios en los Vecinos de este Pueblo, porque los 
aiudasen a sostener, i los Christianos los doctrinasen en nuestra Santa 
F^, conforme d los Mandamientos de su Magestad." Xerez.. Conq. 
del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 187. 



Having made these arrangements with such conscien- 
tious regard to the welfare of the benighted heathen, 
Pizarro gave his infant city the name of San Miguel, 
in acknowledgment of the service rendered him by 
that saint in his battles with the Indians of Puna. The 
site originally occupied by the settlement was after- 
wards found to be so unhealthy that it was abandoned 
for another on the banks of the beautiful Piura. The 
town is still of some note for its manufactures, though 
dwindled from its ancient importance ; but the name 
of San Miguel de Piura, which it bears, still commemo- 
rates the foundation of the first European colony in the 
empire of the Incas. 

Before quitting the new settlement, Pizarro caused 
the gold and silver ornaments which he had obtained 
in different parts of the country to be melted down 
into one mass, and a fifth to be deducted for the 
crown. The remainder, which belonged to the troops, 
he persuaded them to relinquish for the present, under 
the assurance of being repaid from the first spoils that 
fell into their hands.® With these funds, and other 
articles collected in the course of the campaign, he 
sent back the vessels to Panama. The gold was applied 
to paying off the ship-owners and those who had fur- 
nished the stores for the expedition. That he should 
so easily have persuaded his men to resign present 
possessions for a future contingency is proof that the 
spirit of enterprise was renewed in their bosoms in all 

* " E sacado el quinto para su Magestad, lo restante que pertenecio 
al Egercito de la Conquista, el Gobemador le tomo prestado de los 
companeros para se lo paga del primer oro que se obiese." Oviedo, 
Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 2. 


its former vigor, and that they looked forward with 
the same buoyant confidence to the results. 

In his late tour of observation the Spanish com- 
mander had gathered much important intelligence in 
regard to the state of the kingdom. He had ascer- 
tained the result of the struggle between the Inca 
brothers, and that the victor now lay with his army 
encamped at the distance of only ten or twelve days' 
journey from San Miguel. The accounts he heard of 
the opulence and power of that monarch, and of his 
great southern capital, perfectly corresponded with the 
general rumors before received, and contained, there- 
fore, something to stagger the confidence, as well as to 
stimulate the cupidity, of the invaders. 

Pizarro would gladly have seen his little army 
strengthened by reinforcements, however small the 
amount, and on that account postponed his departure 
for several weeks. But no reinforcement arrived; and, 
as he received no further tidings from his associates, 
he judged that longer delay would probably be at- 
tended with evils greater than those to be encountered 
on the march; that discontents would inevitably spring 
up in a life of inaction, and the strength and spirits 
of the soldier sink under the enervating influence of 
a tropical climate. Yet the force at his command, 
amounting to less than two hundred soldiers in all, 
after reserving fifty for the protection of the new set- 
tlement, seemed but a small one for the conquest of 
an empire. He might, indeed, instead of marching 
against the Inca, take a southerly direction towards 
the rich capital of Cuzco. But this would only be to 
postpone the hour of reckoning. For in what quarter 



of the empire could he hope to set his foot, where the 
arm of its master would not reach him? By such a 
course, moreover, he would show his own distrust of 
himself He would shake that opinion of his invin- 
cible prowess which he had hitherto endeavored to 
impress on the natives, and which constituted a great 
secret of his strength; which, in short, held sterner 
sway over the mind than the display of numbers and 
mere physical force. Worse than all, such a course 
would impair the confidence of his troops in them- 
selves and their reliance on himself. This would be 
to palsy the arm of enterprise at once. It was not to 
be thought of 

But, while Pizarro decided to march into the inte- 
rior, it is doubtful whether he had formed any more 
definite plan of action. We have no means of know- 
ing his intentions, at this distance of time, otherwise 
than as they are shown by his actions. Unfortunately, 
he could not write, and he has left no record, like the 
inestimable CjDmmentaries of Cortes, to enlighten us 
as to his motives. His secretary, and some of his 
companions in arms, have recited his actions in de- 
tail ; but the motives which led to them they were not 
always so competent to disclose. 

It is possible that the Spanish general, even so early 
as the period of his residence at San Miguel, may have 
meditated some daring stroke, some effective cotip-de- 
main, which, like that of Cortes when he carried off 
the Aztec monarch to his quarters, might strike terror 
into the hearts of the people and at once decide the 
fortunes of the day. It is more probable, however, 
that he now only proposed to present himself before 


the Inca as the peaceful representative of a brother 
monarch, and by these friendly demonstrations disarm 
any feeling of hostility, or even of suspicion. When 
once in communication with the Indian prince, he 
could regulate his future course by circumstances. 

On the 24th of September, 1532, five months after 
landing at Tumbez, Pizarro marched out at the head 
of his little body of adventurers from the gates of San 
Miguel, having enjoined it on the colonists to treat 
their Indian vassals with humanity and to conduct 
themselves in such a manner as would secure the good 
will of the surrounding tribes. Their own existence, 
and Avith it the safety of the army and the success of 
the undertaking, depended on this course. In the 
place were to remain the royal treasurer, the veedor, 
or inspector of metals, and other officers of the crown ; 
and the command of the garrison was intrusted to the 
contador, Antonio Navarro. ^ Then, putting himself 
at the head of his troops, the chief struck boldly into 
the heart of the country in the direction where, as he 
was informed, lay the camp of the Inca. It was a 
daring enterprise, thus to venture with a handful ot 
followers into the heart of a powerful empire, to pre- 
sent himself face to face before the Indian monarch in 
his own camp, encompassed by the flower of his vic- 
torious army ! Pizarro had already experienced more 
than once the difficulty of maintaining his ground 
against the rude tribes of the north, so much inferior 
in strength and numbers to the warlike legions of 

7 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 187. — Pedro Pi- 
zarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 
3, lib. 8, cap. 10. 



Pen. But the hazard of the game, as I have already- 
more thar\ once had occasion to remark, constituted 
its great charm with the Spaniard. The brilliant 
achievements of his countrymen, on the like occa- 
sions, with means so inadequate, inspired him with 
confidence in his own good star, and this confidence 
was one source of his success. Had he faltered for a 
moment, had he stopped to calculate chances, he must 
inevitably have failed ; for the odds were too great to 
be combated by sober reason. They were only to b** 
met triumphantly by the spirit of the knight-errant. 

After crossing the smooth waters of the Piura, the 
little army continued to advance over a level district 
intersected by streams that descended from the neigh- 
boring Cordilleras. The face of the country was 
shagged over with forests of gigantic growth, and oc- 
casionally traversed by ridges of barren land, that 
seemed like shoots of the adjacent Andes, breaking 
up the surface of the region into little sequestered 
valleys of singular loveliness. The soil, though rarely 
watered by the rains of heaven, was naturally rich, 
and wherever it was refreshed with moisture, as on 
the margins of the streams, it was enamelled with the 
brightest verdure. The industry of the inhabitants, 
moreover, had turned these streams to the best ac- 
count, and canals and aqueducts were seen crossing 
the low lands in all directions, and spreading over 
the country, like a "vast net-work, diffusing fertility 
and beauty around them. The air was scented with 
the sweet odors of flowers, and everywhere the eye 
was refreshed by the sight of orchards laden with un- 
known fruits, and of fields waving with yellow grain 


and rich in luscious vegetables of every description 
that teem in the sunny clime of the equator. The 
Spaniards were among a people who had carried the 
refinements of husbandry to a greater extent than any 
yet found on the American continent; and, as they 
journeyed through this paradise of plenty, their con- 
dition formed a pleasing contrast to what they had 
before endured in the dreary wilderness of the man- 

Everywhere, too, they were received with confiding 
hospitality by the simple people ; for which they were 
no doubt indebted, in a great measure, to their own 
inoffensive deportment. Every Spaniard seemed to be 
aware that his only chance of success lay in conciliating 
the good opinion of the inhabitants among whom he 
had so recklessly cast his fortunes. In most of the 
hamlets, and in every place of considerable size, some 
fortress was to be found, or royal caravansary, destined 
for the Inca on his progresses, the ample halls of which 
furnished abundant accommodations for the Spaniards; 
who were thus provided with quarters along their route 
at the charge of the very government which they were 
preparing to overturn.^ 

On the fifth day after leaving San Miguel, Pizarro 
halted in one of these delicious valleys, to give his 
troops repose and to make a more complete inspec- 
tion of them. Their number amounted in all to one 
hundred and seventy-seven, of which sixty-seven were 
cavalry. He mustered only three arquebusiers in his 

8 Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3. lib. 8, cap. 4.— Naharro, 
Relacion sumaria, MS.— Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS.--Re'^cion del 
primer Descub., MS. 


whole company, and a few crossbow-men, altogether not 
exceeding twenty.' The troops were tolerably well 
equipped, and in good condition. But the watchful 
eye of their commander noticed with uneasiness that, 
notwithstanding the general heartiness in the cause 
manifested by his followers, there were some among 
them whose countenances lowered with discontent, 
and who, although they did not give vent to it in open 
murmurs, were far from moving with their wonted 
alacrity. He was aware that if this spirit became con- 
tagious it would be the ruin of the enterprise ; and he 
thought it best to exterminate the gangrene at once, 
and at whatever cost, than to wait until it had infected 
the whole system. He came to an extraordinary reso- 

Calling his men together, he told them that " a 
crisis had now arrived in their affairs, which it de- 
manded all their courage to meet. No man should 
think of going forward in the expedition who could 
not do so with his whole heart, or who had the least 
misgiving as to its success. If any repented of his 
share in it, it was not too late to turn back. San 
Miguel was but poorly garrisoned, and he should be 
glad to see it in greater strength. Those who chose 
might return to this place, and they should be entitled 
to the same proportion of lands and Indian vassals as 

9 There is less discrepancy in the estimate of the Spanish force here 
than usual. The paucity of numbers gave less room for it. No ac- 
count carries them as high as' two hundred. I have adopted that of 
the secretary Xerez (Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 187), who 
has been followed by Oviedo (Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. i, 
cap. 3) and by the judicious Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. i, 
cap 2. 


the present residents. With the rest, were they few or 
many, who chose to take their chance with him, he 
should pursue the adventure to the end."" 

It was certainly a remarkable proposal for a com- 
mander who was ignorant of the amount of disaffection 
in his ranks, and who could not safely spare a single 
man from his force, already far too "feeble for the un- 
dertaking. Yet, by insisting on the wants of the little 
colony of San Miguel, he afforded a decent pretext for 
the secession of the malecontents, and swept away the 
barrier of shame which might have still held them in 
the camp. Notwithstanding the fair opening thus 
afforded, there were but few, nine in all, who availed 
themselves of the general's permission. Four of these 
belonged to the infantry, and five to the horse. The 
rest loudly declared their resolve to go forward with 
their brave leader; and, if there were some whose 
voices were faint amidst the general acclamation, they 
at least relinquished the right of complaining hereafter, 
since they had voluntarily rejected the permission to 
return." This stroke of policy in their sagacious cap- 
tain was attended with the best effects. He had win- 
nowed out the few grains of discontent which, if left 
to themselves, might have fermented in secret till the 

«> " Que todos los que quiriesen bol verse i la ciudad de San Miguel 
y avecindarse alii demas de los vecinos que alii quedaban el les de- 
positaria repartimientos de Indies con que se sostubiesen como lo habia 
hecljo con los otros vecinos ; e que con los Espanoles que quedasen, 
pocos 6 muchos, iria -k conquistar e pacificar la tierra en demanda y 
persecucion del camino que llevaba." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, 
MS.. Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 3. 

" Ibid., MS., loc. cit. — Heirera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. i, cap. a 
— Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 187. 


whole mass had swelled into mutiny. Cortes had com- 
pelled his men to go fon\-ard heartily in his enterprise 
by burning their vessels and thus cutting off the only 
means of retreat. Pizarro, on the other hand, threw 
open the gates to the disaffected and facilitated their 
departure. Both judged right, under their peculiar 
circumstances, and both were perfectly successful. 

Feeling himself strengthened, instead of weakened, 
by his loss, Pizarro now resumed his march, and on the 
second day arrived before a place called Zaran, situatecf 
in a fruitful valley among the mountains. Some of 
the inhabitants had been drawn off to swell the levies 
of Atahuailpa. The Spaniards had repeated experi- 
ence on their march of the oppressive exactions of the 
Inca, who had almost depopulated some of the valleys 
to obtain reinforcements for his army. The curaca of 
the Indian town where Pizarro now arrived received 
him with kindness and hospitality, and the troops were 
quartered as usual in one of the royal tambos or cara- 
vansaries, which were found in all the principal places." 

Yet the Spaniards saw no signs of their approach to 
the royal encampment, though more time had already 
elapsed than was originally allowed for reaching it. 
Shortly before entering Zaran, Pizarro had heard that 
a Peruvian garrison was established in a place called 
Caxas, lying among the hills, at no great distance from 
his present quarters. He immediately despatched a 
small party under Hernando de Soto in that direction, 
to reconnoitre the ground, and bring him intelligence 
of the actual state of things, at Zaran, where he would 
halt until his oflScer's return. 

" Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 
Peru. — Vol. I.— q 31 


Day after day passed on, and a week had elapsed 
before tidings were received of his companions, and 
Pizarro was becoming seriously alarmed for their fate, 
when on the eighth morning Soto appeared, bringing 
with him an envoy from the Inra himself. He was a 
person of rank, and was attended by several followers 
of inferior condition. He had met the Spaniards at 
Caxas, and now accompanied them on their return, to 
deliver his sovereign's message, with a present to the 
Spanish commander. The present consisted of two 
fountains, made of stone, in the form of fortresses ; 
some fine stuffs of woollen embroidered with gold 
and silver; and a quantity of goose-flesh, dried and 
seasoned in a peculiar manner, and much used as a 
perfume, in a pulverized state, by the Peruvian nobles." 
The Indian ambassador came charged also with his 
master's greeting to the strangers, whom Atahuallpa 
welcomed to his country and invited to visit him in 
his camp among the mountains.'^ 

Pizarro well understood that the Inca's object in 
this diplomatic visit was less to do him courtesy than 
to inform himself of the strength and condition of 

13 " Dos Fortale9as, k manera de Fuente, figuradas en Piedra, con 
que beba, i dos cargas de Patos secos, desollados, para que hechos 
polvos, se sahume con ellos.porque asi se usa entre los Sunores de su 
Tierra : i que le embiaba &. decir, que W tiene voluntad de ser su 
Amigo, i efperalle de Paz en Caxamalca." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, 
ap. Barcia, tom. iii. p. 189. 

M Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Oviedo, Hist, de las 
Indi.-is, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 3. — Relacion del primer Descub., 
MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. iii. p. 189. — Garcilasso 
de la Vega, tells us that Atahuallpa's envoy addressed the Spani.^h 
commander in the most humble and deprecatory manner, as Son of 
the Sun and of the great God Viracocha. He adds that he was loaded 


the invaders. But he was well pleased with the em- 
bassy, and dissembled his consciousness of its real 
purpose. He caused the Peruvian to be entertained 
in the best manner the camp could afford, and paid 
him the respect, says one of the Conquerors, due to 
the ambassador of so great a monarch. '^ Pizairo 
urged him to prolong his visit for some days, which 
the Indian envoy declined, but made the most of his 
time while there, by gleaning all the information he 
could in respect to the use of every strange article 
which he saw, as well as the object of the white 
men's visit to the land, and the quarter whence they 

The Spanish captain satisfied his curiosity in all these 
particulars. The intercourse with the natives, it may 
be here remarked, was maintained by means of two 
of the youths who had accompanied the Conquerors 
on their return home from their preceding voyage. 
They had befen taken by Pizarro to Spain, and, as 
much pains had been bestowed on teaching them the 
Castilian, they now filled the office of interpreters and 
opened an easy communication with their countrymen. 

with a prodigious present of all kinds of game, living and dead, gold 
and silver vases, emeralds, turquoises, etc., etc., enough to furnish out 
the finest diapter of the Arabian Nights. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 
1, cap. 19.) It is extraordinary that none of the Conquerors, who 
had a quick eye for these dainties, should allude to them. One can- 
not but suspect that the " old uncle" was amusing himself at his young 
nephew's expense, — and, as it has proved, at the expense of most of 
bis readers, who receive the Inca's fairy-tales as historic facts. 

'S " I mand6, que le diesen de comer &. el, i k los que con ^1 venian, 
i todo lo que huviesen menester, i fuesen bien aposentados, como 
Embajadores de tan Gran Seiior." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia. 
torn. iii. p. 189. 


It was of inestimable service; and well did the Span- 
ish commander reap the fruits of his forecast.'* 

On the departure of the Peruvian messenger, Pizarro 
presented him with a cap of crimson cloth, some cheap 
but showy ornaments of glass, and other toys, which 
he had brought for the purpose from Castile. He 
charged the envoy to tell his master that the Span- 
iards came from a powerful prince who dwelt far be- 
yond the waters ; that they had heard much of the 
fame of Atahuallpa's victories, and were come to pay 
their respects to him, and to offer their services by 
aiding him with their arms against his enemies ; and 
he might be assured they would not halt on the road 
longer than was necessary, before presenting them- 
selves before him. 

Pizarro now received from Soto a full account of 
his late expedition. That chief, on entering Caxas, 
found the inhabitants mustered in hostile array, as if 
to dispute his passage. But the cavalier soon con- 
vinced them of his pacific intentions, and, laying aside 
their menacing attitude, they received the Spaniards 
with the same courtesy which had been shown them 
in most places on their march. 

Here Soto found one of the royal officers, employed 

»* " Los Indies de la tierra se entendian muy bien con los Espanoles, 
porque aquellos mochachos Indios que en el descubrimiento de la 
tierra Pizarro truxo i Espaiia, entendian muy bien nuestra lengua, j 
los tenia alii, con los cuales se entendia muy bien con todos los natu- 
rales de la tierra." (Relacion del primer Descub., MS.) Yet it is a 
proof of the ludicrous blunders into which the Conquerors were per- 
petually falling, that Pizarro's secretary constantly confounds the Inca's 
name with that of his capital. Huayna Capac he always styles " old 
Curco," and his son Huascar " young Cuzco." 



in collecting the tribute for the government. From 
this functionary he learned that the Inca was quartered 
with a large army at Caxamalca, a place of consider- 
able size on the other side of the Cordillera, where he 
was enjoying the luxury of the warm baths, supplied 
by natural springs, for which it was then famous, as 
it is at the present day. The cavalier gathered, also, 
much important information in regard to the resources 
and the general policy of government, the state main- 
tained by the Inca, and the stern severity with which 
obedience to the law was everywhere enforced. He 
had some opportunity of observing this for himself, 
as, on entering the village, he saw several Indians 
hanging dead by their heels, having been executed 
for some violence offered to the Virgins of the Sun, 
of whom there was a convent in the neighborhood. '^ 

From Caxas, De~^oto had passed to the adjacent 
town of Guancabamba, much larger, more populous, 
and better built than the preceding. The houses, 
instead of being made of clay baked in the sun, were 
many of them constructed of solid stone, so nicely 
put together that it was impossible to detect the line 
of junction. A river which passed through the town 
was traversed by a bridge, and the high-road of the 
Incas which crossed this district was far superior to 
that which the Spaniards had seen on the sea-board. 
It was raised in many places, like a causeway, paved 

'7 " A la entrada del Pueblo havia ciertos Indies ahorcados de los 
pies: i supo de este Principal, que Atabalipa los mand6 matar, por- 
qiie lino de ellos entrd en la Casa de las Mugeres k dormir con una; 
al qual, i k todos los Porteros que consintieron, ahorc6." Xerez, 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 188. 



with heavy stone flags, and bordered by trees that 
afforded a grateful shade to the passenger, while 
streams of water were conducted through aqueducts 
along the sides to slake his thirst. At certain dis- 
tances, also, they noticed small houses, which, they 
were told, were for the accommodation of the trav- 
eller, who might thus pass without inconvenience from 
one end of the kingdom to the other. '^ In another 
quarter they beheld one of those magazines destined 
for the army, filled with grain and with articles of 
clothing ; and at the entrance of the town was a stone 
building, occupied by a public officer, whose business 
it wa.3 to collect the tolls or duties on various com- 
modities brought into the place or carried out of it.'' 
These accounts of De Soto not only confirmed all 
that the Spaniards had heard of the Indian empire, 
but greatly raised their ideas of its resources and do- 
mestic policy. They might well have shaken the con- 
fidence of hearts less courageous. 

Pizarro, before leaving his present quarters, de- 
spatched a messenger to San Miguel with particulars 
of his movements, sending at the same time the arti- 
cles received from the Inca, as well as those obtained 

'8 "Van por este camino canos de agfua de donde los caminantes 
beben, traidos de sus nacimientos de otras partes, y a cada jomada 
una Casa i nianera de Venta donde se aposentan los que van h 
vienen." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 3. 

'9 " A la entrada de este Camino en el Pueblo de Cajas esta una 
casa al principio de una puente donde reside una guarda que recibe 
el Portazgo de todos los que van e vienen, e paganlo en la misma cosa 
que llevan, y ninguno puede sacar carga del Pueblo sino la mete, y 
esta costumbre es alii antigua." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., 
ubi supra. 



at different places on the route. The skill shown in 
the execution ol" some of these fabrics sent to Castile 
excited great admiration there. The fine woollen 
cloths, especially, with their rich embroidery, were 
pronounced equal to textures of silk, from which it 
was not easy to distinguish them. 'I'he material was 
probably the delicate wool of the vicuna, none of 
which had then been seen in Europe. °° 

Pizarro, having now acquainted himself with the 
most direct route to Caxamalca, — the Caxamarca of 
the present day,* — resumed his march, taking a direc- 
tion nearly south. The first place of any size at which 
he halted was Motupe, pleasantly situated in a fruitful 
valley, among hills of no great elevation, which cluster 
round the base of the Cordilleras. The place was de- 
serted by its curaca, who, with three hundred of its 
warriors, had gone to join the standard of their Inca. 
Here the general, notwithstanding his avowed purpose 
to push forward without delay, halted four days. The 
tardiness of his movements can be explained only by 
the hope which he may have still entertained of being 
joined by further reinforcements before crossing the 
Cordilleras. None such appeared, however ; and, ad- 

«" " Piezas de lana de la tierra, que era cosa mucho de ver segun su 
primer e gentileza, e no se sabian determinar si era seda 6 lana segun 
su fineza con muchas labores i figuras de oro de martillo de tal manera 
asentado en la ropa que era cosa de marabillar." Oviedo, Hist, de 
las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4. 

* [The letter /, except in the combination // or //, which is equivalent 
to the Italian j'/, is scarcely found in the Quichua — according to Tschudi, 
only in the word lampa, a hoe. The Spaniards supplied the omission 
by changing r to / in several names, as Lima for Rimac. — ED.j 


vancing across a country in which tracts of sandy 
plain were occasionally relieved by a broad expanse 
of verdant meadow, watered by natural streams and 
still more abundantly by those brought through arti- 
ficial channels, the troops at length arrived at the 
borders of a river. It was broad and deep, and the 
rapidity of the current opposed more than orvlinary 
difficulty to the passage. Pizarro, apprehensive lest 
this might be disputed by the natives on the opposite 
bank, ordered his brother Hernando to cross over with 
a small detachment under cover of night and secure a 
safe landing for the rest of the troops. At break of 
day Pizarro made preparations for his own passage, 
by hewing timber in the neighboring woods and con- 
structing a sort of floating bridge, on which before 
nightfall the whole company passed in safety, the 
horses swimming, being led by the bridle. It was a 
day of severe labor, and Pizarro took his own share 
in it freely, like a common soldier, having ever a word 
of encouragement to say to his followers. 

On reaching the opposite side, they learned from 
their comrades that the people of the country, instead 
of offering resistance, had fled in dismay. One of 
them, having been taken and brought before Her- 
nando Pizarro, refused to answer the questions put to 
him respecting the Inca and his army; till, being put 
to the torture, he stated that Atahuallpa was encamped, 
with his whole force, in three separate divisions, oc- 
cupying the high grounds and plains of Caxamalca. 
He further stated that the Inca was aware of the ap- 
proach of the white men and of their small number, 
and that he was purposely decoying them into his own 


quarters, that he might have them more completely in 
his power. 

This account, when reported by Hernando to his 
brother, caused the latter much anxiety. As the 
timidity of the peasantry, however, gradually wore off, 
some of them mingled with the troops, and among 
them the curaca or principal person of the village. 
He had himself visited the royal camp, and he in- 
formed the general that Atahuallpa lay at the strong 
town of Huamachuco, twenty leagues or more south 
of Caxamalca, with an army of at least fifty thousand 

These contradictory statements greatly perplexed the 
chieftain ; and he proposed to one of the Indians who 
had borne him company during a great part of the 
march, to go as a spy into the Inca's quarters and 
bring him intelligence of his actual position, and, as 
far as he could learn them, of his intentions towards 
the Spaniards. But the man positively declined this 
dangerous service, though he professed his willingness 
to go as an authorized messenger of the Spanish com- 

Pizarro acquiesced in this proposal, and instructed 
his envoy to assure the Inca that he was advancing 
with all convenient speed to meet him. He was to 
acquaint the monarch with the uniformly considerate 
conduct of the Spaniards towards his subjects in their 
progress through the land, and to assure him that they 
were now coming in full confidence of finding in him 
the same amicable feelings towards themselves. The 
emissary was particularly instructed to observe if the 
strong passes on the road were defended, or if any 


preparations of a hostile character were to be discerned. 
This last intelligence he was to communicate to the 
general by means of two or three nimble-footed at- 
tendants who were to accompany him on his mis- 
si( n." 

Having taken this precaution, the wary commander 
again resumed his march, and at the end of three days 
reached the base of the mountain-rampart behind 
M hich lay the ancient town of Caxamalca. Before 
him rose the stupendous Andes, rock piled upon rock, 
their skirts below dark with evergreen forests, varied 
here and there by terraced patches of cultivated gar- 
den, with the peasant's cottage clinging to their shaggy 
sides, and their crests of snow glittering high in the 
heavens, — presenting altogether such a wild chaos of 
magnificence and beauty as no other mountain-scenery 
in the world can show. Across this tremendous ram- 
part, through a labyrinth of passes, easily capable of 
defence by a handful of men against an army, the 
troops were now to march. To the right ran a broad 
and level road, with its border of friendly shades, and 
wide enough for two carriages to pass abreast. It was 
one of the great routes leading to Cuzco, and seemed 
by its pleasant and easy access to invite the wayworn 
soldier to choose it in preference to the dangerous 
mountain-defiles. Many were accordingly of opinion 
that the army should take this course and abandon the 
original destination to Caxamalca. But such was not 
the decision of Pizarro. 

« Oviedo, Hist de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4. — Conq. 
i Pob. del Piru, MS. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Xere«, 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 190. 



The Spaniards had everywhere proclaimed their pur- 
pose, he said, to visit the Inca in his camp. This 
purpose had been communicated to the Inca himself. 
To take an opposite direction now would only be to 
draw on them the imputation of cowardice, and to 
incur Atahuallpa's contempt. No alternative remained 
but to march straight across the sierra to his quarters. 
"Let everyone of you," said the bold cavalier, "take 
heart and go forward like a good soldier, nothing 
daunted by the smallness of your numbers. For in 
the greatest extremity God ever fights for his own ; 
and doubt not he will hunible the pride of the heathen, 
and bring him to the knowledge of the true faith, the 
great end and object of the Conquest."'" 

Pizarro, like Cortes, possessed a good share of that 
frank and manly eloquence which touches the heart 
of the soldier more than the parade of rhetoric or the 
finest flow of elocution. He was a soldier himself, 
and partook in all the feelings of the soldier, his joys, 
his hopes, and his disappointments. He was not raised 
by rank and education above sympathy with the hum- 
blest of his followers. Every chord in their bosoms 
vibrated with the same pulsations as his own, and the 
conviction of this gave him a mastery over them. 
"Lead on," they shouted, as he finished his brief 

" " Que todos se animasen y esforzasen d hacer coino de ellos es- 
peraba y como buenos espanoles lo suelen hacer, e que no les pusiese 
temor la multitud que se decia que habia de gente ni el poco numero 
de los cristianos, que aunque menos fuesen e mayor el egercito con- 
trario, la ayuda de Dios es mucho mayor, y en las mayores necesi- 
dudes socorre y faborece a los suyos para desbaratar y abajar la soher- 
bia de los in.ieles k traerlos en conocimiento de nuestra S'* fe catolica." 
Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4. 


but animating address, ''lead on wherever you th-ink 
best. We will follow with good will, and you shall 
see that we can do our duty in the cause of God and 
the King!"*3 There was no longer hesitation. All 
thoughts were now bent on the instant passage of the 

«3 " Todos digeron que fuese por el Camino que quisiese i viese que 
mas convenia, que todos le seguirian con buena voluntad e obra al 
tiempo del cfecto, y veria lo que cada uno de alios haria en servicio 
de Dios e de su Magestad." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., loc. cit. 







That night Pizarro held a council of his principal 
officers, and it was determined that he should lead the 
advance, consisting of forty horse and sixty foot, and 
reconnoitre the ground ; while the rest of the com- 
pany, under his brother Hernando, should occupy 
their present position till they received further orders. 

At early dawn the Spanish general and his detach- 
ment were under arms and prepared to breast the diffi- 
culties of the sierra. These proved even greater than 
had been foreseen. The path had been conducted in 
the most judicious manner round the rugged and pre- 
cipitous sides of the mountains, so as best to avoid the 
natural impediments presented by the ground. But it 
was necessarily so steep, in many places, that the cav- 
alry were obliged to dismount, and, scrambling up as 
they could, to lead their horses by the bridle. In 
many places, too, where some huge crag or eminence 
overhung the road, this was driven to the very verge 
of the precipice ; and the traveller was compelled to 
wind along the narrow ledge of rock, scarcely wide 
Peru.— Vol. I. ^^ ( 373 ) 


enough for his single steed, where a misstep would 
precipitate him hundreds, nay, thousands of feet into 
the dreadful abyss ! The wild passes of the sierra, 
practicable for the half-naked Indian, and even for 
the sure and circumspect mule, — an animal that seems 
to have been created for the roads of the Cordilleras, 
— were formidable to the man-at-arms encumbered 
with his panoply of mail. The tremendous fissures 
or quebradas, so frightful in this mountain-chain, 
yawned open, as if the Andes had been split asunder 
by some terrible convulsion, showing a broad exjDanse 
of the primitive rock on their sides, partially mantled 
over with the spontaneous vegetation of ages ; while 
their obscure depths furnished a channel for the tor- 
rents, that, rising in the heart of the sierra, worked 
their way gradually into light and spread over the 
savannas and green valle)s of the tierra calietite on 
their way to the great ocean. 

Many of these passes afforded obvious points of 
defence j and the Spaniards, as they entered the rocky 
defiles, looked with apprehension lest they might rouse 
some foe from his ambush. This apprehension was 
heightened as, at the summit of a steep and narrow 
gorge, in which they were engaged, they beheld a 
strong work, rising like a fortress, and frowning, as it 
were, in gloomy defiance on the invaders. As they 
drew near this building, which was of solid stone, 
commanding an angle of the road, they almost ex- 
pected to see the dusky forms of the warriors rise 
over the battlements, and to receive their tempest of 
missiles on their bucklers ; for it was in so strong a 
position that a few resolute men might easily have 


held there an army at bay. But they had the satis- 
faction to find the place untenanted, and their spirits 
were greatly raised by the conviction that the Indian 
monarch did not intend to dispute their passage, when 
it would have been easy to do so with success. 

Pizarro now sent orders to his brother to follow 
without delay, and, after refreshing his men, continued 
his toilsome ascent, and before nightfall reached an 
eminence crowned by another fortress, of even greater 
strength than the preceding. It was built of solid 
masonry, the lower part excavated from the living 
rock, and the whole work executed with skill not 
inferior to that of the European architect.' 

Here Pizarro took up his quarters for the night. 
Without waiting for the arrival of the rear, on the 
following morning he resumed his march, leading still 
deeper into the intricate gorges of the sierra. The 
climate had gradually changed, and the men and 
horses, especially the latter, suffered severely from 
the cold, so long accustomed as they had been to the 
sultry climate of the tropics.* The vegetation also 
had changed its character; and the magnificent tim- 
ber which covered the lower level of the country had 
gradually given way to the funereal forest of pine, 
and, as they rose still higher, to the stunted growth of 
numberless Alpine plants, whose hardy natures found 

» " Tan ancha la Cerca como qualquier Fortale9a de Espana, con sus 
Puertas: que si en esta Tierra oviese los Maestros, i Herramientas de 
Espana, no pudiera ser major labrada la Cerca." Xerez, Conq. del 
Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 192. 

» " Es tan to el frio que hace en esta Sierra, que como los Caballos 
venian hechos al calor, que en los Valles hacia. algunos de ellos se 
resfriixron." Ibid., p. 191. 


a congenial temperature in the icy atmosphere of the 
more elevated regions. These dreary solitudes seemed 
to be nearly abandoned by the brute creation as well 
as by man. The light-footed vicuna, roaming in its 
native state, might be sometimes seen looking down 
from some airy cliff, where the foot of the hunter 
dared not venture. But instead of the feathered tribes 
whose gay plumage sparkled in the deep glooms of 
the tropical forests, the adventurers now beheld only 
the great bird of the Andes, the loathsome condor, 
which, sailing high above the clouds, followed with 
doleful cries in the track of the army, as if guided 
by instinct in the path of blood and carnage. 

At length they reached the crest of the Cordillera, 
where it spreads out into a bold and bleak expanse, 
with scarcely a vestige of vegetation, except what is 
afforded by the pajoiial, a dried yellow grass, which, 
as it is seen from below, encircling the base of the 
snow-covered peaks, looks, with its brilliant straw- 
color lighted up in the rays of an ardent sun, like a 
setting of gold round pinnacles of burnished silver. 
The land was sterile, as usual in mining-districts, and 
they were drawing near the once famous gold-quarries 
on the way to Caxamalca : 

" Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines, 
That on the high equator ridgy rise." 

Here Pizarro halted for the coming up of the rear. 
The air was sharp and frosty; and the soldiers, spread- 
ing their tents, lighted fires, and, huddling round 
them, endeavored to find some repose after their la- 
borious march.' 
> " 6 aposentaronse los Espafioles en sus toldos 6 pabellones de 



They had not been long in these quarters, when a 
messenger arrived, one of those who had accompanied 
the Indian envoy sent by Pizarro to Atahuallpa. He 
informed the general that the road was free from ene- 
mies, and that an embassy from the Inca was on its 
way to the Castilian camp. Pizarro now sent back to 
quicken the march of the rear, as he was unwilling 
that the Peruvian envoy should find him with his pres- 
ent diminished numbers. The rest of the army were not 
far distant, and not long after reached the encampment. 

In a short time the Indian embassy also arrived, 
which consisted of one of the Inca nobles and several 
attendants, bringing a welcome present of llamas to 
the Spanish commander. The Peruvian bore, also, the 
greetings of his master, who wished to know when the 
Spaniards would arrive at Caxamalca, that he might 
provide suitable refreshments for them. Pizarro learned 
that the Inca had left Huamachuco, and was now lying 
with a small force in the neighborhood of Caxamalca, 
at a place celebrated for its natural springs of warm 
water. The Peruvian was an intelligent person, and 
the Spanish commander gathered from him many par- 
ticulars respecting the late contests which had distracted 
the empire. 

As the envoy vaunted in lofty terms the military prow- 
ess and resources of his sovereign, Pizarro thought it 
politic to show that it had no power to overawe him. 

algodon de la tierra que llevaban, e haciendo fuegos para defenderse 
del mucho frio que en aquella Sierra hacen, porque sin ellos no se 
pudieron valer sin padecer mucho trabajo ; y segiin ^ los cristianos les 
parecio, y aun como era lo cierto, no podia haber mas frio en parte de 
Elspafia en invierno." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib, 
8, cap. 4. 



He expressed his satisfaction at the triumphs of Ata- 
huallpa, who, he acknowledged, had raised himself high 
in the rank of Indian warriors. But he was as infe- 
rior, he added with more policy than politeness, to the 
monarch who ruled over the white men, as the petty 
curacas of the country were inferior to him. This was 
evident from the ease with which a few Spaniards had 
overrun this great continent, subduing one nation after 
another that had offered resistance to their arms. He 
had been led by the fame of Atahuallpa to visit his 
dominions and to offer him his services in his wars, 
and, if he were received by the Inca in the same 
friendly spirit with which he came, he was willing, for 
the aid he could render him, to postpone awhile his 
passage across the country to the opposite seas. The 
Indian, according to the Costilian accounts, listened 
with awe to this strain of glorification from the Span- 
ish commander. Yet it is possible that the envoy was 
a better diplomatist than they imagined, and that he 
understood it was only the game of brag at which he 
was playing with his more civilized antagonist.'* 

On the succeeding morning, at an early hour, the 
troops were again on their march, and for two days 
were occupied in threading the airy defiles of the 
Cordilleras. Soon after beginning their descent on 
the eastern side, another emissary arrived from the 
Inca, bearing a message of similar import to the pre- 
ceding, and a present, in like manner, of Peruvian 
sh.ecp. This was the same noble that had visited 
Pizarro in the valley. He now came in more state, 

< Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 193. — Oviedo, Hist. 
de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 5. 



quaffing chicha — the fermented juice of the maize — 
from golden goblets borne by his attendants, which 
sparkled in the eyes of the rapacious adventurers. ^ 

While he was in the camp, the Indian messenger, 
originally sent by Pizarro to the Inca, returned, and no 
sooner did he behold the Peruvian, and the honorable 
reception which he met with from the Spaniards, than 
he was filled with wrath, which would have vented 
itself in personal violence, but for the interposition 
of the by-standers. It was hard, he said, that this 
Peruvian dog should be thus courteously treated, when 
he himself had nearly lost his life on a similar mission 
among his countrymen. On reaching the Inca's camp 
he had been refused admission to his presence, on the 
ground that he was keeping a fast and could not be seen. 
They had paid no respect to his assertion that he came 
as an envoy from the white men, and would, probably, 
not have suffered him to escape with life, if he had not 
assured them that any violence offered to him would be 
retaliated in full measure on the persons of the Peruvian 
envoys now in the Spanish quarters. There was no 
doubt, he continued, of the hostile intentions of Ata- 
huallpa ; for he was surrounded with a powerful army, 
strongly encamped about a league from Caxamalca, 
while that city was entirely evacuated by its inhabitants. 

b " Este Embajador traia servicio de Senor, i cinco 6 seis Vasos da 
Oro fino, con que bebia, i con ellos daba k beber k los Espanoles do 
la Chicha que traia." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 
193. — Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., ubi supra. — The latter author, 
in this part of his work, has done little more than make a transcript 
of that of Xerez. His endorsement of Pizarro's secretary, however, 13 
of value, from the fact that, with less temptation to niisstate or over- 
state, he enjoyed excellent opportunities for information. 


To all this the Inca's envoy coolly replied that 
Pizarro's messenger might have reckoned on such a 
reception as he had found, since he seemed to have 
taken with him no credentials of his mission. As to 
the Inca's fast, that was true ; and, although he would 
doubtless have seen the messenger had he known there 
was one from the strangers, yet it was not safe to disturb 
him at these solemn seasons, when engaged in his reli- 
gious duties. The troops by whom he was surrounded 
were not numerous, considering that the Inca was at 
that time carrying on an important war; and as to 
Caxamalca, it was abandoned by the inhabitants in 
order to make room for the white men, who were so 
soon to occupy it.* 

This explanation, however plausible, did not alto- 
gether satisfy the general ; for he had too deep a 
conviction of the cunning of Atahuallpa, whose in- 
tentions towards the Spaniards he had long greatly 
distrusted. As he proposed, however, to keep on 
friendly relations with the monarch for the present, 
it was obviously not his cue to manifest suspicion. 
Affecting, therefore, to give full credit to the explana- 
tion of the envoy, he dismissed him with reiterated 
assurances of speedily presenting himself before the 

The descent of the sierra, though the Andes are less 
precipitous on their eastern side than towards the west, 
was attended with difficulties almost equal to those of 
the upward march; and the Spaniards felt no little 
satisfaction when, on the seventh day, they arrived in 

* Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 194. — Oviedo, Ilist 
de las Indias, MS., ubi supra. 


view of the valley of Caxamalca, which, enamelled 
with all the beauties of cultivation, lay unrolled like 
a rich and variegated carpet of verdure, in strong 
contrast with the dark forms of the Andes, that rose 
up everywhere around it. The valley is of an oval 
shape, extending about five leagues in length by three 
in breadth. It was inhabited by a population of a 
superior character to any which the Spaniards had met 
on the other side of the mountains, as was argued by 
the superior style of their attire and the greater clean- 
liness and comfort visible both in their persons and 
dwellings.^ As far as the eye could reach, the level 
tract exhibited the show of a diligent and thrifty hus- 
bandry. A broad river rolled through the meadows, 
supplying facilities for copious irrigation by means of 
the usual canals and subterraneous aqueducts. The 
land, intersected by verdant hedge-rows, was checkered 
with patches of various cultivation ; for the soil was 
rich, and the climate, if less stimulating than that of 
the sultry regions of the coast, was more favorable to 
the hardy products of the temperate latitudes. Below 
the adventurers, with its white houses glittering in the 
sun, lay the little city of Caxamalca, like a sparkling 
gem on the dark skirts of the sierra. At the distance 
of about a league farther, across the valley, might be 
seen columns of vapor rising up towards the heavens, 
indicating the place of the famous hot baths, much 
frequented by the Peruvian princes. And here, too, 
was a spectacle less grateful to the eyes of the Span- 
iards ; for along the slope of the hills a white cloud of 
pavilions was seen covering the ground, as thick as 

T Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 195. 


snow-flakes, for the space, apparently, of several miles. 
"It filled us all with amazement," exclaims one of 
the Conquerors, "to behold the Indians occupying so 
proud a position ! So many tents, so well appointed, 
as were never seen in the Indies till now ! The spec- 
tacle caused something like confusion and even fear in 
the stoutest bosom. But it was too late to turn back, 
or to betray the least sign of weakness, since the natives 
in our own company would, in such case, have been 
the first to rise upon us. So, with as bold a counte- 
nance as we could, after coolly surs-eying the ground, 
we prepared for our entrance into Caxamalca."® 

What were the feelings of the Peruvian monarch 
we are not informed, when he gazed on the martial 
cavalcade of the Christians, as, with banners streaming, 
and bright panoplies glistening in the rays of the even- 
ing sun, it emerged from the dark depths of the sierra 
and advanced in hostile array over the fair domain 
which, to this period, had never been trodden by othei 
foot than that of the red man. It might be, as several 
of the reports had stated, that the Inca had purposely 
decoyed the adventurers into the heart of his populous 
empire, that he might envelop them with his legions 

8 " Y eran tantas las tiendas que parecian. que cierto nos puso harto 
espanto, porque no pensabamos que Indios pudiesen tener tan so- 
berbia estancia, ni tantas tiendas, ni tan a punto, lo cual hasta alii en 
las Indias nunca se \i6, que nos causo i todos los Elspanoles harta 
confusion y temor ; aunque no convenia mostrarse, ni menos volver 
atras, porque si alguna flaqueza en nosotros sintieran, los mismos 
Indios que llevabamos nos mataran, y ansi con animoso semblante, 
despues de haber muy bien atalayado el pueblo y tiendas que he 
dicho, abajamos por el valle abajo, y entramos en el pueblo de Caja- 
malca," Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 


and the more easily become master of their property 
and persons.' Or was it from a natural feeling of 
curiosity, and relying on their professions of friend- 
ship, that he had thus allowed them, without any 
attempt at resistance, to come into his presence ? At 
all events, he could hardly have felt such confidence 
in himself as not to look with apprehension, mingled 
with awe, on the mysterious strangers, who, coming 
from an unknown world and possessed of such won- 
derful gifts, had made their way across mountain and 
valley in spite of every obstacle which man and nature 
had opposed to them. 

Pizarro, meanwhile, forming his little corps intc 
three divisions, now moved forward, at a more meas- 
ured pace, and in order of battle, down the slopes that 
led towards the Indian city. As he drew near, no one 
came out to welcome him ; and he rode through the 
streets without meeting with a living thing, or hearing 
a sound, except the echoes, sent back from the deserted 
dwellings, of the tramp of the soldiery. 

It was a place of considerable size, containing about 
ten thousand inhabitants, somewhat more, probably, 

9 This was evidently the opinion of the old Conqueror, whose im- 
perfect manuscript forms one of the best authorities for this portion 
of our narrative : " Teniendonos en muy poco, y no haciendo cuenta 
que 190 hombres le habian de ofender, dio lugar y consintio que pasa- 
semos per aquel paso y por otros muchos tan males como el, porque 
realniente, d lo que despues se supo y averiguo, su intencion era 
vernos y preguntarnos, de donde veniamos ? y quien nos habia he- 
chad d alii? y que queriamos? Porque era muy sabio y discreto, y 
aunque sin luz ni escriptura, amigo de saber y de sotil entendlmiento ; 
y despues de holgadose con nosotros, tomamos los caballos y las cosa^i 
que d el mas le aplacian, y sacrificar i. los demas." Relacion del 
primer Descub., MS. 


than the population assembled at this day within the 
walls of the modern city of Caxamalca." The houses, 
for the most part, were built of clay, hardened in the 
sun ; the roofs thitched or of timber. Some of the 
more ambitious dwellings were of hewn stone ; and 
there was a convent in the place, occupied by the 
Virgins of the Sun, and a temple dedicated to the 
same tutelar deity, which last was hidden in the deep 
embowering shades of a grove on the skirts of the city. 
On the quarter towards the Indian camp was a square 
— if square it might be called, which was almost tri- 
angular in form — of an immense size, surrounded by 
low buildings. These consisted of capacious halls, 
with wide doors or openings communicating with the 
square. They were probably intended as a sort of 
barracks for the Inca's soldiers." At the end of the 
pldza, looking towards the country, was a fortress of 
stone, with a stairway leading from the city, and a 
private entrance from the adjoining suburbs. There 
was still another fortress on the rising ground which 
commanded the town, built of hewn stone and encom- 
passed by three circular walls, — or rather one and the 
same wall, which wound up spirally around it. It was 

'° According to Stevenson, this population, which is of a very 
mixed character, amounts, or did amount some thirty years ago, to 
about seven thousand. That sagacious traveller gives an animated 
description of the city, in which he resided some time, and which lie 
seems to have regarded with peculiar predilection. Yet it does not 
hold probably the relative rank at the present day that it did in (hat 
of the Inca;. Residence in South America, vol. ii. p. 131. 

" Carta de Hern. Pizarro, ap. Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., 
Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 15. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iiL 
p. 195. 



a place of great strength, and the workmanship showed 
a better knowledge of masonry, and gave a higher 
impression of the architectural science of the people, 
than any thing the Spaniards had yet seen." 

It was late in the afternoon of the fifteenth of 
November, 1532, when the Conquerors entered the 
city of Caxamalca. The weather, which had been fair 
during the day, now threatened a storm, and some rain 
mingled with hail — for it was unusually cold — began to 
fall. '3 Pizarro, however, was so anxious to ascertain 
the dispositions of the Inca that he determined to send 
an embassy at once to his quarters. He selected for 
this Hernando de Soto with fifteen horse, and, after 
his departure, conceiving that the number was too 
small in case of any unfriendly demonstrations by the 
Indians, he ordered his brother Hernando to follow 
with twenty additional troopers. This captain and 
one other of his party have left us an account of the 

" " Fuer9as son, que entre Indies no se han visto tales." Xerez, 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 195. — Relacion del primer 
Descub,, MS. 

'3 " Desde k poco rato comen90 k Hover, 1 caer grani90." (Xerez, 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 195.) Caxamalca, in the In- 
dian tongue, signifies "place of frost;" for the temperature, though 
usually bland and genial, is sometimes affected by frosty winds from 
the east, very pernicious to vegetation. Stevenson, Residence in South 
America, vol. ii. p. 129. 

«4 Carta de Hern. Pizarro, MS. — The Letter of Hernando Pizarro, 
addressed to the Royal Audience of St. Domingo, gives a full account 
of the extraordinary events recorded in this and the ensuing chapter, 
m which that cavalier took a prominent part. Allowing for the par- 
tialities incident to a chief actor in the scenes he describes, no au- 
thority can rank higher. The indefatigable Oviedo, who resided in 
Peru. — Vol. I. — R 33 


Betv.'een the city and the imperial camp was a cause- 
way, built in a substantial manner across the meadow- 
land that intervened. Over this the cavalry galloped 
at a rapid pace, and before they had gone a league they 
came in front of the Peruvian encampment, where it 
spread along the gentle slope of the mountains. The 
lances of the warriors were fixed in the ground before 
their tents, and the Indian soldiers were loitering with- 
out, gazing with silent astonishment at the Christian 
cavalcade, as with clangor of arms and shrill blast of 
trumpet it swept by, like some fearful apparition on 
the wings of the wind. 

The party soon came to a broad but shallow stream, 
which, winding through the meadow, formed a defence 
for the Inca's position. Across it was a wooden bridge ; 
but the cavaliers, distrusting its strength, preferred to 
dash through the waters, and without difficulty gained 
the opposite bank. A battalion of Indian warriors was 
drawn up under arms on the farther side of the bridge, 
but they offered no molestation to the Spaniards ; and 
these latter had strict orders from Pizarro — scarcely 
necessary in their present circumstances — to treat the 
natives with courtesy. One of the Indians pointed 
out the quarter occupied by the Inca.'^ 

It was an open court-yard, with a light building or 
pleasure-house in the centre, having galleries nmning 
round it, and opening in the rear on a garden. The 

St. Domingo, saw its importance, and fortunately incorporated the 
document in his great work. Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, 
cap. 15. — The anonymous author of the Relacion del primer Descub., 
MS., was also detached on this sen-ice. 

»5 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Carta de Hem. Pizarro, 



walls were covered with a shining plaster, both white 
and colored, and in the area before the edifice was seen 
a spacious tank or reservoir of stone, fed by aqueducts 
that supplied it with both warm and cold water.'* A 
basin of hewn stone — it may be of a more recent con- 
struction — still bears, on the spot, the name of the 
" Inca's bath." '7 The court was filled with Indian 
nobles, dressed in gayly-ornamented attire, in attend- 
ance on the monarch, and with women of the royal 
household. Amidst this assembly it was not difficult 
to distinguish the person of Atahuallpa, though his 
dress was simpler than that of his attendants. But he 
wore on his head the crimson borla or fringe, which, 
surrounding the forehead, hung down as low as the 
eyebrow. This was the well-known badge of Peruvian 
sovereignty, and had been assumed by the monarch 
only since the defeat of his brother Huascar. He was 
seated on a low stool or cushion, somewhat after the 
Morisco or Turkish fashion, and his nobles and prin- 
cipal officers stood around him with great ceremony, 
holding the stations suited to their rank.'^ 

'' Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 202. — "Y al 
estanque venian dos caiios de agua, uno caliente y otro frio, y alii se 
templava la una con la otra, para quando el Senor se queria banar 6 
sus mugeres que otra persona no osava entrar en el so pena de la 
vida." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 

'7 Stevenson, Residence in South America, vol. ii. p. 164. 

** Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 196. — Carta de 
Hem. Pizarro, MS. — The appearance of the Peruvian monarch is de- 
bcribed in simple but animated style by the Conqueror so often quoted, 
one of the party: " Llegados al patio de la dicha casa que tenia de- 
lante della, vimos estar en medio de gran muchedumbre de Indios 
asentado aquel gran Senor Atabalica (de quien tanta noticia, y tantas 
cosas nos habian dicho) con una corona en la cabeza, y una borla que 


The Spaniards gazed with much interest on the 
prince, of whose cruelty and cunning they had heard 
so much, and whose valor had secured to him the pos- 
session of the empire. But his countenance exhibited 
neither the fierce passions nor the sagacity which had 
been ascribed to him ; and, though in his bearing he 
showed a gravity and a calm consciousness of authority 
well becoming a king, he seemed to discharge all ex- 
pression from his features, and to discover only the 
apathy so characteristic of the American races. On 
the present occasion this must have been in part, at 
least, assumed. For it is impossible that the Indian 
prince should not have contemplated with curious in- 
terest a spectacle so strange, and, in some respects, 
appalling, as that of these mysterious strangers, for 
which no previous description could have prepared 

Hernando Pizarro and Soto, with two or three only 
of their followers, slowly rode up in front of the Inca ; 
and the former, making a respectful obeisance, but 
without dismounting, informed Atahuallpa that he 
came as an ambassador from his brother, the com- 
mander of the white men, to acquaint the monarch 
with their arrival in his city of Caxamalca. They 
were the subjects of a mighty prince across the waters, 
and had come, he said, drawn thither by the report of 
his great victories, to offer their services, and to impart 

le salia della, y le cubria toda la frente, la cual era la insinia real, 
sentado en una sillecita muy baja del suelo, como los turcos y moros 
acostumbran sentarse, el cual estaba con tanta magestad y aparato 
cual nunca se ha visto jamas, porque estaba cercado de mas de seis- 
cientos Senores de su ticrra." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 



to him the doctrines of the true faith which they pro- 
fessed ; and he brought an invitation from the general 
to Atahuallpa that the latter would be pleased to visit 
the Spaniards in their present quarters. 
• To all this the Inca answered not a word ; nor did 
he make even a sign of acknow^ledgment that he com- 
prehended it ; though it was translated for him by 
Feiipillo, one of the interpreters already noticed. He 
remained silent, with his eyes fastened on the ground ; 
but one of his nobles, standing by his side, answered, 
" It is well." '9 This was an embarrassing situation for 
the Spaniards, who seemed to be as far from ascer- 
taining the real disposition pf the Peruvian monarch 
towards themselves as when the mountains were between 

In a courteous and respectful manner, Hernando 
Pizarro again broke the silence by requesting the Inca 
to speak to them himself and to inform them what was 
his pleasure.^" To this Atahuallpa condescended to 
reply, while a faint smile passed over his features, " Tell 
your captain that I am keeping a fast, which will end 
to-morrow morning. I will then visit him, with my 
chieftains. In the mean time, let him occupy the 

»9 " Las cuales por el oidas, con ser su inclinacion pregtintarnos y 
saber de donde veniamos, y que queriamos, y ver nuestras personas 
y caballos, tubo tanta serenidad en el rostro, y tanta gravedad en su 
persona, que no quiso responder palabra i. lo que se le decia, salve 
que un Senor de aquellos que estaban par de el respondia : bien 
estd." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 

=" " Visto por el dicho Hernando Pizarro que el no hablaba, y que 
aquella tercera persona respondia de suyo, torno le a suplicar, que el 
hablase por su boca, y le respondiese lo que quisiese." Ibid., MS., 
ubi supra. 



public buildings on the square, and no other, till I 
come, when I will order what shall be done."" 

Soto, one of the party present at this interview, as 
before noticed, was the best mounted and perhaps the 
best rider in Pizarro's troop. Observing that AA- 
huallpa looked with some interest on the fiery steed that 
stood before him, champing the bit and pawing the 
ground with the natural impatience of a war-horse, the 
Spaniard gave him the rein, and, striking his iron heel 
into his side, dashed furiously over the plain, then, 
wheeling him round and round, displayed all the beau- 
tiful movements of his charger, and his own excellent 
horsemanship. Suddenly checking him in full career, 
he brought the animal almost on his haunches, so near 
the person of the Inca that some of the foam that 
flecked his horse's sides was thrown on the royal gar- 
ments. But Atahuallpa maintained the same marble 
composure as before, though several of his soldiers, 
whom De Soto passed in the course, were so much dis- 
concerted by it that they drew back in manifest terror, 
— an act of timidity for which they paid dearly, if, as 
the Spaniards assert, Atahuallpa caused them to be put 

" " El cual a esto volvio la cabeza 4 mirarle sonriendose y le dijo: 
•Decid d ese Capitan que os embia acd ; que yo estoy en ayuno, y le 
Hcabo manana por la manana, que en bebiendo una vez, yo ire con 
ilgunos destos principales mios i verme con el, que en tanto 61 se 
aposente en esas casas que estan en la plaza que son coinunes d todos. 
y que no entren en otra ninguna hasta que Yo vaya, que Yo mandarii 
lo que se ha de liacer." Relacion del primer Descub., MS., ubi supra. 
— -In this interview I have followed the account of the cavalier 
who accompanied Hernando Pizarro, in preference to that of the latter, 
who represents himself as talking in a lordly key, that savors too inucli 
of the vaunt of the hid.-ilgo. 



to death that same evening for betraying such unworthy 
weakness to the strangers. "- 

Refreshments were now offered by the royal attend- 
ants to the Spaniards, which they declined, being un- 
willing to dismount. They did not refuse, however, 
to quaff the sparkling chicha from golden vases of ex- 
traordinary size, presented to them by the dark-eyed 
beauties of the harem. -^ Taking then a respectful 
leave of the Inca, the cavaliers rode back to Caxamalca, 
with many moody speculations on what they had seen : 
on the state and opulence of the Indian monarch; on 
the strength of his military array, their excellent ap- 
pointments, and the apparent discipline in their ranks, 
— all arguing a much higher degree of civilization, and 
consequently of power, than any thing they had wit- 
nessed in the lower regions of the country. As they 
contrasted all this with their own diminutive force, too 
far advanced, as they now were, for succor to reach 
them, they felt they had done rashly in throwing them- 
selves into the midst of so formidable an empire, and 
were filled with gloomy forebodings of the result.''* 

^ Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Relacion del primer 
Descub., MS. — " I algunos Indies, con miedo, se desviaron de la 
Carrera, per lo qual Atabalipa los hi90 luego matar." (Zarate, Conq. 
del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 4.) — Xerez states that Atahuallpa confessed this 
himself, in conversation with the Spaniards after he was taken prisoner. 
— Soto's charger might well have made the Indians start, if, as Balboa 
says, he took twenty feet at a leap, and this with a knight in armor on 
his back ! Hist, du Perou, chap. 22. 

»3 Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. 
Barcia, torn. iii. p. 196. 

'^ " Hecho esto y visto y atalayado la grandeza del ejercito, y lab 
tiendas que era bien de ver, nos bolvimos A donde el dicho capital) 
nos estaba esperando, harto espantados de lo que habiamos visto, ha- 


Their comrades in the camp soon caught the infectious 
spirit of despondency, which was not lessened as night 
came on, and they beheld the watch-fires of the Peru- 
vians lighting up the sides of the mountains and glit- 
tering in the darkness, "as thick," says one who saw 
them, "as the stars of heaven. "^^ 

Yet there was one bosom in that little host which 
was not touched with the feeling either of fear or 
dejection. That was Pizarro's, who secretly rejoiced 
that he had now brought matters to the issue for 
which he had so long panted. He saw the necessity 
of kindling a similar feeling in his followers, or all 
would be lost. Without unfolding his plans, he went 
round among his men, beseeching them not to show 
faint hearts at this crisis, when they stood face to face 
with the foe whom they had been so long seeking. 
"They were to rely on themselves, and on that Provi- 
dence which had carried them safe through so rriany 
fearful trials. It would not now desert them; and if 
numbers, however great, were on the side of their 
enemy, it mattered little, when the arm of Heaven was 

biendo y tomando entre nosotros muchos acuerdos y opiniones de lo 
que se debia hacer, estando todos con mucho temor por ser tin pocos, 
y estar tan metidos en la tierra donde no podiamos ser socorridos." 
(Relacion del primer Descub., MS.) Pedro Pizarro is honest enough 
to confirm this account of the consternation of the Spaniards. (De- 
scub. y Conq., MS.) Fear was a strange sensation for the Castilian 
cavalier. But if he did not feel some touch of it on that occasion, he 
must have been akin to that doughty knight who, as Charles V. pro- 
nounced, "never could have snuffed a candle with his fingers." 

»S ' Hecimos la guardia en la plaza, de donde se vian los fuegos del 
ejercito de los Indios, lo cual era cosa espantable, que como estaban 
en una ladera la mayor parte, y tan juntos unos de otros, no parecia 
sino un cielo muy estrellado." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 



on theirs."'*' The Spanish cavalier acted under the 
combined influence of chivalrous adventure and re- 
ligious zeal. The latter was the more effective in 
the hour of peril; and Pizarro, who understood well 
the characters he had to deal with, by presenting the 
enterprise as a crusade, kindled the dying embers of 
enthusiasm in the bosoms of his followers, and restored 
their faltering courage. 

He then summoned a council of his officers, to con- 
sider the plan of operations, or rather to propose to 
them the extraordinary plan on which he had himself 
decided. This was to lay an ambuscade for the Inca 
and take him prisoner in the face of his whole army ! 
It was a project full of peril, — bordering, as it might 
well seem, on desperation. But the circumstances of 
the Spaniards were desperate. Whichever way they 
turned, they were menaced by the most appalling 
dangers; and better was it bravely to confront the 
danger than weakly to shrink from it, when there was 
no avenue for escape. 

To fly was now too late. Whither could they fly? 
At the first signal of retreat, the whole army of the 
Inca would be upon them. Their movements would 
be anticipated by a foe far better acquainted with the 
intricacies of the sierra than themselves ; the passes 
would be occupied, and they would be hemmed in on 
all sides; while the mere fact of this retrograde move- 
ment would diminish their confidence and with it 
their effective strength, while it doubled that of their 

*5 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 197. — Naharro, 
Relacion sumaria, MS. 


Yet to remain long inactive in their present position 
seemed almost equally perilous. Even supposing that 
Atahuallpa should entertain friendly feelings towards 
the Christians, they could not confide in the continu- 
ance of such feelings. Familiarity with the white 
men would soon destroy the idea of any thing super- 
natural, or even superior, in their natures. He would 
feel contempt for their diminutive numbers. Their 
horses, their arms and showy appointments, would be 
an attractive bait in the eye of the barbaric monarch, 
and when conscious that he had the power to crush 
their possessors he would not be slow in finding a pre- 
text for it. A sufficient one had already occurred in 
the high-handed measures of the Conquerors on their 
march through his dominions. 

But what reason had they to flatter themselves that 
the Inca cherished such a disposition towards them? 
He was a crafty and unscrupulous prince, and, if the 
accounts they had repeatedly received on their march 
were true, had ever regarded the coming of the Span- 
iards with an evil eye.' It was scarcely possible he 
should do otherwise. His soft messages had only 
been intended to decoy them across the mountains, 
where, with the aid of his warriors, he might readily 
overpower them. They were entangled in the toils 
which the cunning monarch had spread for them. 

Their only remedy, then, was to turn the Inca's arts 
against himself; to take him, if possible, in his own 
snare. There was no time to be lost ; for any day 
might bring back the victorious legions who had re- 
cently won his battles at the south, and thus make the 
odds against the Spaniards far greater than now. 


Yet to encounter Atahuallpa in the open field would 
be attended with great hazard; and, even if victori- 
ous, there would be little probability that the person 
of the Inca, of so much importance, would fall into 
their hands. The invitation he had so unsuspiciously 
accepted to visit them in their quarters afforded the 
best means for securing this desirable prize. Nor 
was the enterprise so desperate, considering the great 
advantages afforded by the character and weapons of 
the invaders and the unexpectedness of the assault. 
The mere circumstance of acting on a concerted plan 
would alone make a small number more than a match 
for a much larger one. But it was not necessary to 
admit the whole of the Indian force into the city 
before the attack; and the person of the Inca once 
secured, his followers, astounded by so strange an 
event, were they few or many, would have no heart 
for further resistance ; and with the Inca once in his 
power, Pizarro might dictate laws to the empire. 

In this daring project of the Spanish chief it was 
easy to see that he had the brilliant exploit of Cortes 
in his mind when he carried off the Aztec monarch in 
his capital. But that was not by violence, — at least 
not by open violence, — and it received the sanction, 
compulsory though it were, of the monarch himself. 
It was also true that the results in that case did not 
altogether justify a repetition of the experim.ent, since 
the people rose in a body to sacrifice both the prince 
and his kidnappers. Yet this was owing, in part at 
least, to the indiscretion of the latter. The experi- 
ment in the outset was perfectly successful; and could 
Pizarro once become master of the person of Ata- 


huallpa he trusted to his own discretion for the rest. 
It would at least extricate him from his present critical 
position, by placing in his power an inestimable guar- 
antee for his safety; and if he could not make his own 
terms with the Inca at once, the arrival of reinforce- 
ments from home would, in all probability, soon en- 
able him to do so. 

Pizarro having concerted his plans for the follow- 
ing day, the council broke up, and the chief occupied 
himself with providing for the security of the camp 
during the night. The approaches to the town were 
defended; sentinels were posted at different points, 
especially on the summit of the fortress, where they 
were to observe the position of the enemy and to re- 
port any movement that menaced the tranquillity of 
the night. After these precautions, the Spanish com- 
mander and his followers withdrew to their appointed 
quarters, — but not to sleep. At least, sleep must have 
come late to those who were aware of the decisive plan 
for the morrow ; that morrow which was to be the 
crisis of their fate, — to crown their ambitious schemes 
with full success, or consign them to irretrievable ruin I 




The clouds of the evening had passed away, and 
the sun rose bright on the following morning, the most 
memorable epoch in the annals of Peru. It was Satur- 
day, the sixteenth of November, 1532. The loud cry 
of the trumpet called the Spaniards to arms with the 
first streak of dawn; and Pizarro, briefly acquainting 
them with the plan of the assault, made the necessary 

'Y\iQ plaza, as mentioned in the preceding chapter, 
was defended on its three sides by low ranges of build- 
ings, consisting of spacious halls with wide doors or 
vomitories opening into the scjuaie. In these halls he 
stationed his cavalry in two divisions, one under his 
brother Hernando, the other under De Soto. The 
infantry he placed in another of the buildings, reserv- 
ing twenty chosen men to act with himself as occasion 
might require. Pedro de Candia, with a i^w soldiers 
and the artillery, — comprehending under this imposing 
name two small pieces of ordnance, called falconets, 
— he established in the fortress. All received orders 
Peru.— Vol. I. 34 ( 397 ) 


to wait at their posts till the arrival of the Inca. After 
his entrance into the great square, they were still to 
remain under cover, withdrawn from observation, till 
the signal was given by the discharge of a gun, when 
they were to cry their war-cries, to rush out in a body 
from their covert, and, putting the Peruvians to the 
sword, bear off the person of the Inca. The arrange- 
ment of the immense halls, opening on a level with the 
plaza, seemed to be contrived on purpose for a coup 
de theatre. Pizarro particularly inculcated order and 
implicit obedience, that in the hurry of the moment 
there should be no confusion. Everything depended 
on their acting with concert, coolness, and celerity.' 

The chief next saw that their arms were in good 
order, and that the breastplates of their horses were 
garnished with bells, to add by their noise to the con- 
sternation of the Indians. Refreshments were, also, 
liberally provided, that the troops should be in con- 
dition for the conflict. These arrangements being 
completed, mass was performed with great solemnity 
by the ecclesiastics who attended the expedition ; the 
God of battles was invoked to spread his shield over 
the soldiers who were fighting to extend the empire 
of the Cross; and all joined with enthusiasm in the 
chant, " Exsurge, Domitie,^^ "Rise, O Lord! and 
judge thine own cause."' One might have supposed 

' Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Relacion del primer De- 
scub., MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 197. — 
Carta de Hem. Pizarro, MS. — Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS.. 
Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 7. 

2 " Los Eclesiasticos i Religiosos se ocuparon toda aqiiella noche 
en oracion, pidiendo d Dios el mas conveniente suceso i. su sagrado 
servicio. exaltacion de la fe k salvacion de tanto numero de almas. 



them a company of martyrs about to lay down their 
lives in defence of their faith, instead of a licentious 
band of adventurers meditating one of the most atro- 
cious acts of perfidy on the record of history ! Yet, 
whatever were the vices of the Castilian cavalier, hy- 
pocrisy was not among the number. He felt that he 
was battling for the Cross, and under this conviction, 
exalted as it was at such a moment as this into the 
predominant impulse, he was blind to the baser mo- 
tives which mingled with the enterprise. With feel- 
ings thus kindled to a flame of religious ardor, the 
soldiers of Pizarro looked forward with renovated 
spirits to the coming conflict ; and the chieftain saw 
with satisfaction that in the hour of trial his men 
would be true to their leader and themselves. 

It was late in the day before any movement was 
visible in the Peruvian camp, where much preparation 
was making to approach the Christian quarters with 
due state and ceremony. A message was received from 
Atahuallpa, informing the Spanish commander that he 
should come with his warriors fully armed, in the same 
manner as the Spaniards had come to his quarters the 
night preceding. This was not an agreeable intima- 
tion to Pizarro, though he had no reason, probably, 
to expect the contrary. But to object might imply 
distrust, or perhaps disclose, in some measure, his own 
designs. He expressed his satisfaction, therefore, at the 

derramando muchas lagrimas i sangre en las disciplinas que tomaron. 
Francisco Pizarro animb a los soldados con una niui cristiana plattca 
que les hizo : con que, i asegurarles los Eclesiasticos de parte de Dios 
i de su Madre Santisima la vitoria, amanecieron todos mui deseosos 
de dar la batalla, diciendo d voces, Exsurge Domine, et judica causam 
tuam." Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. 


intelligence, assuring the Inca that, come as he would, 
he would be received by him as a friend and brother.' 

It was noon before the Indian procession was on its 
march, when it was seen occupying the great causeway 
for a long extent. In front came a large body of 
attendants, whose ofhce seemed to be to sweep away 
every particle of rubbish from the road. High above 
the crowd appeared the Inca, borne on the shoulders 
of his principal nobles, while others of the same rank 
marched by the sides of his litter, displaying such a 
dazzling show of ornaments on their persons that, in 
the language of one of the Conquerors, "they blazed 
like the sun."'» But the greater part of the Inca's 
forces mustered along the fields that lined the road, 
and were spread over the broad meadows as far as the 
eye could reach. ^ 

When the royal procession had arrived within half a 
mile of the city, it came to a halt ; and Pizarro saw 
with surprise that Atahuallpa was preparing to pitch 

3 " El governador respondid : Di k tu Seiior, que venga en hora 
buena como quisiere, que de la manera que viniere lo recebir^ como 
Amigo, i Hermano." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 
197. — Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 7. — Carta 
de Hem. Pizarro, MS. 

4 " Hera tanta la pateneria que traian d'oro y plata que hera cossa 
estrana lo que reluzia con el Sol." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., 

5 To the eye of the old Conqueror so often quoted, the number of 
Peruvian warriors appeared not less than 50,000 ; " mas de cincuenta 
mil que tenia de guerra." (Relacion del primer Descub., MS.) To 
Pizarro's secretary, as they lay encamped among the hills, they seemed 
about 30,000. (Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. iii. p. 196.) 
However gratifying to the imagination to repose on some precise 
number, it is very rarely that one can do so with safety in estimating 
the irregular and tumultuous levies of a barbarian host. 



his tents, as if to encamp there. A messenger soon 
after arrived, informing the Spaniards that the Inca 
would occupy his present station the ensuing night, 
and enter the city on the following morning. 

This intelligence greatly disturbed Pizarro, who had 
shared in the general impatience of his men at the 
tardy movements of the Peruvians. The troops had 
been under arms since daylight, the cavalry mounted, 
and the infantry at their post, waiting in silence the 
coming of the Inca. A profound stillness reigned 
throughout the town, broken only at intervals by the 
cry of the sentinel from the summit of the fortress, as 
he proclaimed the movements of the Indian army. 
Nothing, Pizarro well knew, was so trying to the 
soldier as prolonged suspense, in a critical situation 
like the present ; and he feared lest his ardor might 
evaporate, and be succeeded by that nervous feeling 
natural to the bravest soul at such a crisis, and which, 
if not fear, is near akin to it.' He returned an answer, 
therefore, to Atahuallpa, deprecating his change of 
purpose, and adding that he had provided every thing 
for his entertainment, and expected him that night to 
sup with him.' 

This message turned the Inca from his purpose; 

* Pedro Pizarro says that an Indian spy reported to Atahuallpa that 
the white men were all huddled together in the great halls on the 
square, in much consternation, llenos de miedo, — which was not far 
from the truth, adds the cavalier. (Descub. y Conq., MS.) 

7 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — "Asentados sus toldos 
envio d decir al gobemador que ya era tarde, que el queria dormir 
alii, que por la manana vemia : el gobemador le envio d decir que le 
rogaba que viniese luego, porque le esperaba i. cenar, k que no habia 
de cenar, hasta que fuese." Carta de Hem. Pizarro, MS. 


and, striking his tents again, he resumed his march, 
first advising the general that he should leave the 
greater part of his warriors behind, and enter the 
place with only a few of them, and without arms,^ as 
he preferred to pass the night at Caxamalca. At the 
same time he ordered accommodations to be provided 
for himself and his retinue in one of the large stone 
buildings, called, from a serpent sculptured on the 
wa'ls, " the House of the Serpent."' No tidings could 
have been more grateful to the Spaniards. It seemed 
as if the Indian monarch was eager to rush into the 
snare that had been spread for him I The fanatical 
cavalier could not fail to discern in it the immediate 
finger of Providence. 

It is difficult to account for this wavering conduct 
of Atahuallpa, so different from the bold and decided 
character which history ascribes to him. There is no 
doubt that he made his visit to the white men in 
perfect good faith ; though Pizarro was probably right 
in conjecturing that this amiable disposition stood on 
a very precarious footing. There is as little reason to 
suppose that he distrusted the sincerity of the strangers; 
or he would not thus unnecessarily have proposed to 
visit them unarmed. His original purpose of coming 
with all his force was doubtless to display his royal 
state, and perhaps, also, to show greater respect for 
the Spaniards ; but when he consented to accept their 

' " £l queria venir luego, e que venia sin armas. E luego Ata- 
baliva se movio para venir e dejo alii la gente con las armas, e llev6 
cousigo liasta cinco 6 seis mil indios sin armas, salvo que debajo de las 
camisetas traian unas porras pequeiias, e hondas, i bolsas con pie- 
dras." Carta de Hern. Pizarro, MS. 

B Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 197. 


hospitality and pass the night in their quarters, he 
was willing to dispense with a great part of his armed 
soldiery and visit them in a manner that implied entire 
confidence in their good faith. He was too absolute 
in his own empire easily to suspect; and he probably 
could not comprehend the audacity with which a few 
men, like those now assembled in Caxamalca, medi- 
tated an assault on a powerful monarch in the midst of 
his victorious army. He did not know the character 
of the Spaniard. 

It was not long before sunset when the van of the 
royal procession entered the gates of the city. First 
came some hundreds of the menials, employed to clear 
the path of every obstacle, and singing songs of 
triumph as they came, "which in our ears," says one 
of the Conquerors, "sounded like the songs of hell" !" 
Then followed other bodies of different ranks, and 
dressed in different liveries. Some wore a showy stuff, 
checkered white and red, like the squares of a chess- 
board." Others were clad in pure white, bearing ham- 
mers or maces of silver or copper;" and the guards, 
together with those in immediate attendance on the 
prince, were distinguished by a rich azure livery, and 
a profusion of gay ornaments, while the large pendants 
attached to the ears indicated the Peruvian noble. 

Elevated high above his vassels came the Inca 
Atahuallpa, borne on a sedan or open litter, on which 
was a sort of throne made of massive gold of inestima- 
ble value. '^ The palanquin was lined with the richly- 

»° Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 

" " Blanca y colorada como las casas de un ajedrez." Ibid., MS. 

" " Con martillos en las manos de cobra y plata." Ibid., MS. 

•3 " EI asiento que traia sobre las andas era un tablon de oro (jua 


colored plumes of tropical birds and studded with 
shining plates of gold and silver.'* The monarch's 
attire was much richer than on the preceding evening. 
Round his neck was suspended a collar of emeralds of 
uncommon size and brilliancy. 's His short hair was 
decorated with golden ornaments, and the imperial 
borla encircled his temples. The bearing of the Inca 
was sedate and dignified; and from his lofty station he 
looked down on the multitudes below with an air of 
composure, like one accustomed to command. 

As the leading files of the procession entered the 
great square, larger, says an old chronicler, than any 
square in Spain, they opened to the right and left for 
the royal retinue to p;:ss. Every thing was conducted 
with admirable order. The monarch was permitted 
to traverse \\\& plaza in silence, and not a Spaniard was 
to be seen. When some five or six thousand of his 
people had entered the place, Atahuallpa halted, and, 
turning round with an inquiring look, demanded, 
"Where are the strangers?" 

At this moment Fray Vicente de Valverde, a Domi- 
nican friar, Pizarro's chaplain, and afterwards Bishop 
of Cuzco, came forward with his breviary, or, as other 

peso un quintal de oro segun dicen los historiadores 25,000 pesos 6 
ducados." Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. 

H " Luego venia mucha Gente con Armaduras, Patenas, i Coronas 
de Oro i Plata : entre estos venia Atabalipa, en una Litera, aforrada de 
Pluma de Papagaios, de muchas colores, guarnecida de chapas de 
Oro, i Plata." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 198. 

'S Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — "Venia la persona de 
At.ibalica, la cual traian ochenta Senores en hombros todos bcstidos 
de una librea azul muy rica, y el bestido su persona niuy ricamente 
con su corona en la cabeza, y al cucllo un collar de esmeraldas 
grandes." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 



accounts say, a Bible, in one hand, and a crucifix in 
the other, and, approaching the Inca, told him that he 
came by order of his commander to expound to him 
the doctrines of the true faith, for which purpose the 
Spaniards had come from a great distance to his coun- 
try. The friar then explained, as clearly as he could, 
the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, and, ascending 
high in his account, began with the creation of man, 
thence passed to his fall, to his subsequent redemption 
by Jesus Christ, to the crucifixion, and the ascension, 
when the Saviour left the Apostle Peter as his Vice- 
gerent upon earth. This power had been transmitted 
to the successors of the apostle, good and wise men, 
who, under the title of Popes, held authority over all 
powers and potentates on earth. One of the last of 
these Popes had commissioned the Spanish emperor, 
the most mighty monarch in the world, to conquer and 
convert the natives in this Western hemisphere ; and 
his general, Francisco Pizarro, had now come to exe- 
cute this important mission. The friar concluded with 
beseeching the Peruvian monarch to receive him kindly, 
to abjure the errors of his own faith, and embrace that 
of the Christians now proffered to him, the only one 
by which he could hope for salvation, and, furthermore, 
to acknowledge himself a tributary of the Emperor 
Charles the Fifth, who, in that event, would aid and 
protect him as his loyal vassal.'* 

»* Montesinos says that Valverde read to the Inca the regular for- 
mula used by the Spaniards in their Conquests. (Annales, MS., ano 
1533-) But that address, though absurd enough, did not comprehend 
the whole range of theology ascribed to the chaplain on this occasion. 
Yet it is not impossible. But I have followed the report of Fray Na- 
harro, who collected his information from the actors in the tragedy, 


Whether Atahuallpa possessed himself of every link 
in the curious chain of argument by which the monk 
connected Pizarro with St. Peter, may be doubted. It 
is certain, however, that he must have had very incor- 
rect notions of the Trinity, if, as Garcilasso states, the 
interpreter Felipillo explained it by saying that " the 
Christians believed in three Gods and one God, and 
that made four." '^ But there is no doubt he perfectly 
comprehended that the drift of the discourse was to 
persuade him to resign his sceptre and acknowledge the 
supremacy of another. 

The eyes of the Indian monarch flashed fire, and his 
dark brow grew darker, as he replied, "I will be no 
man's tributary. I am greater than any prince upon 
earth. Your emperor may be a great prince ; I do not 
doubt it, when I see that he has sent his subjects so far 
across the waters ; and I am willing to hold him as a 
brother. As for the Pope of whom you speak, he must 
be crazy to talk of giving away countries which do not 
belong to him. For my faith," he continued, " I will 
not change it. Your own God, as you say, was put to 
death by the very men whom he created. But mine," 
he concluded, pointing to his Deity, — then, alas ! sink- 
ing in glory behind the mountains, — " my God still 
lives in the heavens and looks down on his children."'* 

and whose minuter statement is corroborated by the more general 
testimony of both the Pizarros and the secretary Xerez. 

«7 " Por dezir Dios trino y uno dixo Dios tres y uno son quatro, 
sumando los numeros por darse i entender." Com. Real., Parte 2, 
lib. I, cap. 23. 

'* See .Appendix No. 8, where the reader will find extracts in th«! 
original from several contemporary MSS., relating to the capture of 


He then demanded of Valverde by what authority 
he had said these things. The friar pointed to the book 
which he held, as his authority. Atahuallpa, taking it, 
turned over the pages a moment, then, as the insult he 
liad received probably flashed across his mind, he threw 
it down with vehemence, and exclaimed, "Tell your 
comrades that they shall give me an account of their 
doings in my land. I will not go from here till they 
have made me full satisfaction for all the wrongs they 
have committed." '' 

The friar, greatly scandalized by the indignity offered 
to the sacred volume, stayed only to pick it up, and, 
hastening to Pizarro, informed him of what had been 
done, exclaiming, at the same time, "Do you not see 
that while we stand here wasting our breath in talking 
with this dog, full of pride as he is, the fields are fill- 
ing with Indians? Set on, at once; I absolve you."" 

»9 Some accounts describe him as taxing the Spaniards in much 
more unqualified terms. (See Appendix No. 8.) But language is not 
likely to be accurately reported in such seasons of excitement. Ac- 
cording to some authorities, Atahuallpa let the volume drop by acci- 
dent. (\Iontesmos, Annales, MS., ano 1533. — Balboa, Hist, du Perou, 
chap. 22.) But the testimony, as far as we have it, of those present, 
concurs in representing it as stated in the text. And, if he spoke with 
the heat imputed to him, this act would only be in keeping. 

*> " Visto esto por el Frayle y lo poco que aprovechaban sus pala- 
bras, tomo su libro, y abajo su cabeza, y fuese para donde estaba el 
dicho Pizarro, casi corriendo, y dijole : No veis lo que pasa: para que 
estais en comedimientos y requerimientos con este perro lleno de so- 
berbia que vienen los campos llenos de Indies? Salid i. el, — que yo 
OS absuelvo." (Relacion del primer Descub., MS.) The historian 
should be slow in ascribing conduct so diabolical to Father Valverde, 
without evidence. Two of the Conquerors present, Pedro Pizarro 
and Xerez, simply state that the monk reported to his commander tlie 
indignity offered to the sacred volume. But Hernando Pizarro and 


Pizarro saw that the hour had come. He waved a 
white scarf in the air, the appointed signal. The fatal 
gun was fired from the fortress. Then, springing into 
the square, the Spanish captain and his followers 
shouted the old war-cry of "St. Jago and at them." 
It was answered by the battle-cry of every Spaniard in 
the city, as, rushing from the avenues of the great halls 
in which they were concealed, they poured into the 
plaza, horse and foot, each in his own dark column, 
and threw themselves into the midst of the Indian 
crowd. The latter, taken by surprise, stunned by the 
report of artillery and muskets, the echoes of which 
reverberated like thunder from the surrounding build- 
ings, and blinded by the smoke which rolled in sul- 
phurous volumes along the square, were seized with a 
panic. They knew not whither to fly for refuge from 
the coming ruin. Ncrbles and commoners, — all were 
trampled down under the fierce charge of the cavalry, 
Avho dealt their blows, right and left, without sparing ; 
while their swords, flashing through the thick gloom, 
carried dismay into the hearts of the wretched natives, 
who now for the first time saw the horse and his rider 
in all their terrors. They made no resistance, — as, 
indeed, they had no weapons with which to make it. 
Every avenue to escape was closed, for the entrance to 
the square was choked up with the dead bodies of men 

the author of the Relacion del primer Descubrimiento, both eye- 
witnesses, and Naharro, Zarate, Gomara, Balboa, Herrera, the Inca 
Tituciissi Yupanqui, all of whom obtained their information from 
persons who were eye-witnesses, state the circumstance, with little 
variation, as in the text. Yet Oviedo endorses the account of Xcrez, 
and Garcilasso de la Vega insists on Valverde's innocence of any at- 
tempt to rouse tb^^ passions of his comrades. 



who had perished in vain efforts to fly ; and such was 
the agony of the survivors under the terrible pressure 
of their assailants that a large body of Indians, by 
their convulsive struggles, burst through the wall of 
stone and dried clay which formed part of the bound- 
ary of xX^Q plaza / It fell, leaving an opening of more 
than a hundred paces, through which multitudes now 
found their way into the country, still hotly pursued 
by the cavalry, who, leaping the fallen rubbish, hung 
on the rear of the fugitives, striking them down in all 

Meanwhile the fight, or rather massacre, continued 
hot around the Inca, whose person was the great object 
of the assault. His faithful nobles, rallying about him, 
threw themselves in the way of the assailants, and 
strove, by tearing them from their saddles, or at least 
by offering their own bosoms as a mark for their ven- 
geance, to shield their beloved master. It is said by 
some authorities that they carried weapons concealed 
under their clothes. If so, it availed them little, as it is 
not pretended that they used them. But the most timid 
animal will defend itself when at bay. That the In- 
dians did not do so in the present instance is proof that 
they had no weapons to use." Yet they still continued 

=' Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, 
ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 198. — Carta de Hern. Pizarro, MS. — Oviedo, 
Hist, de las Hdias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 7. — Relacion del primer 
Descub., MS. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 5. — Instruccion 
del Inga Titucussi Yupanqui, MS. 

^ The author of the Relacion del primer Descubrimiento speaks 

of a few as having bows and arrows, and of others as armed with 

silver and copper mallets or maces, which may, however, have been 

more for ornament than for service in fight. Pedro Pizarro and some 

Peru. — Vol. I. — s 35 


to force back the cavaliers, clinging to their horses 
with dying grasp, and, as one was cut down, another 
taking the place of his fallen comrade with a loyalty 
truly affecting. 

The Indian monarch, stunned and bewildered, saw 
his faithful subjects falling around him without fully 
comprehending his situation. The litter on which he 
rode heaved to and fro, as the mighty press swayed 
backwards and forwards ; and he gazed on the over- 
whelming ruin, like some forlorn mariner, who, tossed 
about in his bark by the furious elements, sees the 
lightning's flash and hears the thunder bursting around 
him with the consciousness that he can do nothing to 
avert his fate. At length, weary with the work of 
destruction, the Spaniards, as the shades of evening 
grew deeper, felt afraid that the royal prize might, 
after all, elude them \ and some of the cavaliers made 
a desperate attempt to end the affray at once by taking 
Atahuallpa's life. But Pizarro, who was nearest his 
person, called out, with stentorian voice, "Let no one 
who values his life strike at the Inca;'"^ and, stretch- 
ing out his arm to shield him, received a wound on 
the hand from one of his own men, — the only wound 
received by a Spaniard in the action.^ 

later writers say that the Indians brought thongs with them to bind 
the captive white men. Both Hernando Pizarro and the secretary 
Xerez agree that their only arms were secreted under their clothes; 
but, as they do not pretend that these were used, and as it was an- 
nounced by the Inca that he camo. without arms, the assertion may 
well be doubted, — or rather discredi:cd. All authorities, without ex- 
ception, agree that no active resistance was attempted. 

»3 " EI marquez dio bozes diciendo : Nadie hiera al indio so pena 
de la vida." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 

"* Whatever discrepancy exists among the Castilian accounts in 


The struggle now became fiercer than ever round the 
royal litter. It reeled more and more, and at length, 
several of the nobles who supported it having been 
slain, it was overturned, and the Indian prince would 
have come with violence to the ground, had not his 
fall been broken by the efforts of Pizarro and some 
other of the cavaliers, who caught him in their arms. 
The imperial borla was instantly snatched from his 
temples by a soldier named Estetej^'s and the unhappy 

other respects, all concur in this remarkable fact, — that no Spaniard, 
except their general, received a wound on that occasion. Pizarro saw 
in this a satisfactory argument for regarding the Spaniards, this day, 
as under the special protection of Providence. See Xerez, Conq. del 
Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 109. 

25 Miguel Estete, who long retained the silken diadem as a trophy 
of the exploit, according to Garcilasso de la Vega (Com. Real., Parte 
2, lib. I, cap. 27), an indifferent authority for any thing in this part 
of his history. This popular writer, whose work, from his superior 
knowledge of the institutions of the country, has obtained greater 
credit, even in what relates to the Conquest, than the reports of the 
Conquerors themselves, has indulged in the romantic vein to an un- 
pardonable extent in his account of the capture of Atahuallpa. Ac- 
cording to him, the Peruvian monarch treated the invaders from the 
first with supreme deference, as descendants of Viracocha, predicted 
by his oracles as to come and rule over the land. But if this flatter- 
ing homage had been paid by the Inca, it would never have escaped 
the notice of the Conquerors. Garcilasso had read the Commentaries 
of Cortes, as he somewhere tells us; and it is probable that that gen- 
eral's account, well founded, it appears, of a similar superstition among 
the Aztecs, suggested to the historian the idea of a corresponding sen- 
timent in the Peruvians, which, while it flattered the vanity of the 
Spaniards, in some degree vindicated his own countrymen from the 
charge of cowardice, incurred by their too ready submission ; for, 
however they might be called on to resist men, it would have been 
madness to resist the decrees of Heaven. Yet Garcilasso's romantic 
version has something in it so pleasing to the imagination that it has 
ever found favor with the majority of readers. The English student 


monarch, strongly secured, was removed to a neigh- 
boring building, where he was carefully guarded. 

All attempt at resistance now ceased. The fate of 
the Inca soon spread over town and country. The 
charm which might have held the Peruvians together 
was dissolved. Every man thought only of his own 
safety. Even the soldiery encamped on the adjacent 
fields took the alarm, and, learning the fatal tidings, 
were seen flying in every direction before their pur- 
suers, who in the heat of triumph showed no touch of 
mercy. At length night, more pitiful than man, threw 
her friendly mantle over the fugitives, and the scattered 
troops of Pizarro rallied once more at the sound of the 
trumpet in the bloody square of Caxamalca. 

The number of slain is reported, as usual, with great 
discrepancy. Pizarro' s secretary says two thousand 
natives fell.^ A descendant of the Incas — a safer 
authority than Garcilasso — swells the number to ten 
thousand.^ Truth is generally found somewhere be- 

might have met with a sufficient corrective in the criticism of the sa- 
gacious and skeptical Robertson. 

=* Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 199. 

»7 " Los mataron i todos con los Cavallos con espadas con arca- 
buzes como quien mata ovejas — sin hacerles nadie resistencia que no 
se escaparon de mas de diez mil, doscientos." Instruc. del Inga Titu- 
cussi, MS. — This document, consisting of two hundred folio pages, is 
signed by a Peru\'ian Inca, grandson of the great Huayna Capac, and 
nephew, consequently, of Atahuallpa. It was written in 1570, and 
designed to set forth to his Majesty Philip II. the claims of Titu- 
cussi and the members of his family to the royal bounty. In the 
course of the Memorial the writer takes occasion to recapitulate some 
of the principal events in the latter years of the empire ; and, though 
sufficiently proli.x to ta.x even the patience of Philip II., it is of much 
value as an historical document, coming from one of the royal race 
of Peiu. 



tween the extremes. The slaughter was incessant, for 
there was nothing to check it. That there should have 
been no resistance will not appear strange when we 
consider the fact that the wretched victims .were 
without arms, and that their senses must have been 
completely overwhelmed by the strange and appalling 
spectacle which burst on them so unexpectedly. 
"What wonder was it," said an ancient Inca to a 
Spaniard, who repeats it, "what wonder that our 
countrymen lost their wits, seeing blood run like 
water, and the Inca, whose person we all of us adore, 
seized and carried off by a handful of men?"^^ Yet, 
though the massacre was incessant, it was short in 
duration. The whole time consumed by it, the brief 
twilight of ihe tropics, did not much exceed half an 
hour; a short period, indeed, — yet long enough to 
decide the fate of Peru and to subvert the dynasty of 
the Incas. 

That night Pizarro I'eot his engagement with the 
Inca, since he had Atanuallpa to sup with him. The 
banquet was served in one of the halls facing the great 
square, which a few hours before had been the scene 

*8 Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1532. — According to Naharro, 
the Indians were less astounded by the wild uproar caused by the 
sudden assault of the Spaniards, though "this was such that it seemed 
as if the very heavens were falling," than by a terrible apparition 
which appeared in the air during the onslaught. It consisted of a 
woman and a child, and, at their side, a horseman all clothed in white 
on a milk-white charger, — doubtless the valiant St. James, — who, wilh 
his sword glancing lightning, smote down the infidel host and rendered 
them incapable of resistance. This miracle the good father reports 011 
the testimony oi three of his Order, who were present in the action 
and who received the account from numbers of the natives. Relacion 
Biimaria, MS. 



of slaughter, and the pavement of which was still 
encumbered with the dead bodies of the Inca's sub- 
jects. The captive monarch was placed next his 
conqueror. He seemed like one who did not yet fully 
comprehend the extent of his calamity. If he did, he 
showed an amazing fortitude. "It is the fortune of 
war," he said;''' and, if we may credit the Spaniards, 
he expressed his admiration of the adroitness with 
which they had contrived to entrap him in the midst 
of his own troops. 3° He added that he had been 
made acquainted with the progress of the white men 
from the hour of their landing, but that he had been 
led to undervalue their strength from the insignificance 
of their numbers. He had no doubt he should be easily 
able to overpower them, on their arrival at Caxaraalca, 
by his superior strength; and, as he wished to see for 
himself what manner of men they were, he had suffered 
them to cross the mountains, meaning to select such as 
he chose for his own service, and, getting possession of 
their wonderful arms and horses, put the rest to death. ^' 
That such may have been Atahuallpa's purpose is not 
improbable. It explains his conduct in not occupying 
the mountain-passes, which afforded such strong points 
of defence against invasion. But that a prince so 
astute, as by the general testimony of the Conquerors 

=9 " Diciendo que era uso de Guerra veneer, J ser vencido." Iler- 
rera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 12. 

3° " Haciendo admiracion de la traza que tenia hecha." Relacioa 
del primer Descub., MS. 

3»"And in my opinion," adds the Conqueror who reports the 
speech, "he had good grounds for believing he could do this, since 
nothing but the miraculous interposition of Heaven could have saved 
us." Ibid., MS. 


he is represented to have been, should have made so 
impolitic a disclosure of his hidden motives is not so 
probable. The intercourse with the Inca was carried 
on chiefly by means of the interpreter Felipillo, or liiile. 
Philip, as he was called, from his assumed Christian 
name, — a malicious youth, as it appears, who bore no 
good will to Atahuallpa, and whose interpretations 
were readily admitted by the Conquerors, eager to 
find some pretext for their bloody reprisals. 

Atahuallpa, as elsewhere noticed, was at this time 
about thirty years of age. He was well made, and 
more robust than usual with his countrymen. His 
head was large, and his countenance might have been 
called handsome, but that his eyes, which were blood- 
shot, gave a fierce expression to his features. He was 
deliberate in speech, grave in manner, and towards his 
own people stern even to severity ; though with the 
Spaniards he showed himself affable, sometimes even 
indulging in sallies of mirth. ^^ 

Pizarro paid every attention to his royal captive, 
and endeavored to lighten, if he could not dispel, the 
gloom which, in spite of his assumed equanimity, hung 
over the monarch's brow. He besought him not to be 
cast down by his reverses, for his lot had only been 
that of every prince who had resisted the white men. 
They had come into the country to proclaim the gospel, 
the religion of Jesus Christ; and it was no wonder they 
had prevailed, when his shield was over them. Heaven 
had permitted that Atahuallpa's pride should be hum- 
bled, because of his hostile intentions towards the 
Spaniards and the insult he had offered to the sacred 

32 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 203. 


volume. But he bade the Iiica take courage and 
confide in him, for the Spaniards were a generous 
race, warring only against those who made war on 
them, and showing grace to all who submitted P' 
Atahuallpa may have thought the massacre of that day 
an indifferent commentary on this vaunted lenity. 

Before retiring for the night, Pizarro briefly ad- 
dressed his troops on their present situation. When 
he had ascertained that not a man was wounded, he 
bade them offer up thanksgivings to Providence for so 
great a miracle; without its care, they could never 
have prevailed so easily over the host of their ene- 
mies; and he trusted their lives had been reserved for 
still greater things. But, if they would succeed, they 
had much to do for themselves. They were in the 
heart of a powerful kingdom, encompassed by foes 
deeply attached to their own sovereign. They must 
be ever on their guard, therefore, and be prepared at 
any hour to be roused from their slumbers by the call 
of the trumpet. 3* Having then posted his sentinels, 
placed a strong guard over the apartment of Ata- 
huallpa, and taken all the precautions of a careful 
commander, Pizarro withdrew to repose; and, if he 
could really feel that in the bloody scenes of the past 
day he had been fighting only the good fight of the 
Cross, he doubtless slept sounder than on the night 
preceding the seizure of the Inca. 

On the following morning, the first commands of 

33 " Nosotros vsamos de piedad con nuestros Enemigos vencidos, ) 
no hacemos Guerra, sine k los que nos la hacen, i pudiendolos destruir, 
no lo hacemos, antes los perdonamos." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, apt 
Barcia, torn. iii. p. 199. 

3* Ibid., ubi supra. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 


the Spanish chief were to have the city cleansed of 
its impurities; and the prisoners, of whom there were 
many in the camp, were employed to remove the dead 
and give them decent burial. His next care was to 
despatch a body of about thirty horse to the quarters 
lately occupied by Atahuallpa at the baths, to take 
possession of the spoil, and disperse the remnant of 
the Peruvian forces which still hung about the place. 

Before noon, the party which he had detached on 
this service returned with a large troop of Indians, 
men and women, among the latter of whom were 
many of the wives and attendants of the Inca. The 
Spaniards had met with no resistance; since the Peru- 
vian warriors, though so superior in number, excellent 
in appointments, and consisting mostly of able-bodied 
young men, — for the greater part of the veteran forces 
were with the Inca's generals at the south, — lost all 
heart from the moment of their sovereign's captivity. 
There was no leader to take his place ; for they recog- 
nized no authority but that of the Child of the Sun, 
and they seemed to be held by a sort of invisible 
charm near the place of his confinement; while they 
gazed with superstitious awe on the white men who 
could achieve so audacious an enterprisers 

3S From this time, says Ondegardo, the Spaniards, who hitherto had 
been designated as the " men with beards," barbudos, were called by 
the natives, from their fair-complexioned deity, Viracochas. The 
people of Cuzco, who bore no good will to the captive Inca, "looked 
upon the strangers," says the author, "as sent by Viracocha himself." 
(Rel. Prim., MS.) It reminds us of a superstition, or rather an 
amiable fancy, among the ancient Greeks, that "the stranger came 
from Jupiter." 

" Ilpdf yap Awf dciv unavreg 
Zdvoi Ts." OATS. f. v. 57. 



The number of Indian prisoners was so great that 
some of the Conquerors were for putting them all to 
death, or, at least, cutting off their hands, to disable 
them from acts of violence and to strike terror into 
their countrymen. ^^ The proposition, doubtless, came 
from the lowest and most ferocious of the soldiery. 
But that it should have been made at all shows what 
materials entered into the composition of Pizarro's 
company. The chief rejected it at once, as no less 
impolitic than inhuman, and dismissed the Indians 
to their several homes, with the assurance that none 
should be harmed who did not offer resistance to the 
white men. A sufficient number, however, were re- 
tained to wait on the Conquerors, who were so well 
provided in this respect that the most common soldier 
was attended by a retinue of menials that would have 
better suited the establishment of a noble. ^^ 

The Spaniards had found immense droves of llamas 
under the care of the shepherds in the neighborhood 
of the baths, destined for the consumption of the court. 
Many of them were now suffered to roam abroad among 
their native mountains; though Pizarro caused a con- 
siderable number to be reserved for the use of the 
army. And this was no small quantity, if, as one 
of the Conquerors says, a hundred and fifty of the 

36 " Algunos fueron de opinion, que matasen k todos los Hombres 
de Guerra, 6 les cortasen las manos." Xerez, Hist del Peru, ap. 
Barcia, torn. iii. p. 200. 

37 " Cada Espanol de los que alii Ivan tomaron para si mui gran 
cantidad tanto que como andava todo a rienda suelta havia Espanol 
que tenia docientas piezas de Indios i Indias de servicio." Conq. i 
Pob. del Piru, MS. 


Peruvian sheep were frequently slaughtered in a day. 3' 
Indeed, the Spaniards were so improvident in their 
destruction of these animals that in a few years the 
superb flocks, nurtured with so much care by the 
Peruvian government, had almost disappeared from 
the land.^ 

The party sent to pillage the Inca's pleasure-house 
brought back a rich booty in gold and silver, consist- 
ing chiefly of plate for the royal table, which greatly 
astonished the Spaniards by their size and weight. 
These, as well as some large emeralds obtained there, 
together with the precious spoils found on the bodies 
of the Indian nobles who had perished in the mas- 
sacre, were placed in safe custody, to be hereafter 
divided. In the city of Caxamalca the troops also 
found magazines stored with goods, both cotton and 
woollen, far superior to any they had seen, for fine- 
ness of texture and the skill with which the various 
colors were blended. They were piled from the floors 
to the very roofs of the buildings, and in such quan- 
tity that, after every soldier had provided himself 
with what he desired, it made no sensible diminution 
of the whole amount. •*" 

38 " Se matan cada Dia, ciento i cinquenta." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, 
ap. Barcia, tom. iii. p. 202. 

39 Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 80. — Ondegardo, Rel. Seg., MS. — 
" Hasta que los destruian todos sin haver Espanol ni Justicia que lo 
defendiese ni amparase." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

40 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. iii. p. 200. — There was 
enough, says the anonymous Conqueror, for several ship-loads 
" Todas estas cosas de tiendas y ropas de lana y algodon eran en tan 
gran cantidad, que \ mi parecer fueran menester muchos navies en 
que supieran." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 


Pizarro would now gladly have directed his inarch 
on the Peruvian capital. But the distance was great, 
and his force was small. This must have been still 
further crippled by the guard required for the Inca, 
and the chief feared to involve himself deeper in a 
hostile empire so populous and powerful, with a prize 
so precious in his keeping. With much anxiety, there- 
fore, he looked for reinforcements from the colonies ; 
and he despatched a courier to San Miguel, to inform 
the Spaniards there of his recent successes, and to 
ascertain if there had been any arrival from Panama. 
Meanwhile he employed his men in making Caxamalca 
a more suitable residence for a Christian host, by erect- 
ing a church, or, perhaps, appropriating some Indian 
edifice to this use, in which mass was regularly per- 
formed by the Dominican fathers with great solem- 
nity. The dilapidated walls of the city were also 
restored in a more substantial manner than before, 
and every vestige was soon effaced of the hurricane 
that had so recently swept over it. 

It was not long before Atahuallpa discovered, amidst 
all the show of religious zeal in his Conquerors, a lurk- 
ing appetite more potent in most of their bosoms than 
either religion or ambition. This was the love of 
gold. He determined to avail himself of it to procure 
his own freedom. The critical posture of his affairs 
made it important that this should not be long delayed. 
His brother Huascar, ever since his defeat, had been 
detained as a prisoner, subject to the victor's orders. 
He was now at Andamarca, at no great distance from 
Caxamalca \ and Atahuallpa feared, with good reason, 
that, when his own imprisonment was known, Huascar 



would find it easy to corrupt his guards, make his 
escape, and put himself at the head of the contested 
empire without a rival to dispute it. 

In the hope, therefore, to effect his purpose by ap- 
pealing to the avarice of his keepers, he one day told 
Pizarro that if he would set him free he would engage 
to cover the floor of the apartment on which they 
stood with gold. Those present listened with an in- 
credulous smile; and, as the Inca received no answer, 
he said, with some emphasis, that "he would not 
merely cover the floor, but would fill the room with 
gold as high as he could reach;" and, standing on tip- 
toe, he stretched out his hand against the wall. All 
stared with amazement; while they regarded it as the 
insane boast of a man too eager to procure his liberty 
to weigh the meaning of his words. Yet Pizarro was 
sorely perplexed. As he had advanced into the country, 
much that he had seen, and all that he had heard, had 
confirmed the dazzling reports first received of the 
riches of Peru. Atahuallpa himself had given him 
the most glowing picture of the wealth of the capital, 
where the roofs of the temples were plated with gold, 
while the walls were hung with tapestry and the floors 
inlaid with tiles of the same precious metal. There 
must be some foundation for all this. At all events, 
it was safe to accede to the Inca's proposition; since 
by so doing he could collect at once all the gold at 
his disposal, and thus prevent its being purloined or 
secreted by the natives. He therefore acquiesced in 
Atahuallpa's offer, and, drawing a red line along the 
wall at the height which the Inca had indicated, he 
caused the terms of the proposal to be duly recorded 
Peru. — Vol. I. 36 


by the notary. The apartment was about seventeen 
feet broad, by twenty-two feet long, and the line round 
the walls was nine feet from the floor.'*' This space 
was to be filled with gold ; but it was understood that 
the gold was not to be melted down into ingots, but 
to retain the original form of the articles into which 
it was manufactured, that the Inca might have the 
benefit of the space which they occupied. He further 
agreed to fill an adjoining room of smaller dimensions 
twice full with silver, in like manner ; and he demanded 
two months to accomplish all this."^ 

4* I have adopted the dimensions given by the secretary Xerez, 
(Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 202.) According to Hernando 
Pizarro, the apartment was nine feet high, but thirty-five feet long by 
seventeen or eighteen feet wide. (Carta, MS.) The most moderate 
estimate is large enough. — Stevenson says that they still show "a 
large room, part of the old palace, and now the residence of the Ca- 
cique Astopilca, where the ill-fated Inca was kept a prisoner;" and he 
adds that the line traced on the wall is still visible. (Residence in 
South America, vol. ii. p. 163.) Peru abounds in remains as ancient 
as the Conquest ; and it would not be surprising that the memory of 
a place so remarkable as this should be preserved, — though anything 
but a memorial to be cherished by the Spaniards. 

42 The facts in the preceding paragraph are told with remarkable 
uniformity by the ancient chroniclers. (Conf. Pedro Pizarro, Descub. 
y Conq., MS. — Carta de Hern. Pizarro, MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, 
ap. Barcia, ubi supra. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Zarate, 
Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. — Gomara, Hist, de las Ind., cap. 114. 
— Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. i.) — Both Naharro and 
Herrera state e.vpressly that Pizarro promised the Inca his liberation 
on fulfilling the compact. This is not confirmed by the other chron- 
iclers, who, however, do not intimate that the Spanish general declined 
the terms. And as Pizarro, by all accounts, encouraged his prisoner 
to perform his part of the contract, it must have been with the under- 
standing implied, if not expressed, that he would abide by the other. 
It is most improbable that the Inca would have stripped himself of 
his treasures, if he had not so understood it. 



No sooner was this arrangement made than the Inca 
despatched couriers to Cuzco and the other principal 
places in the kingdom, with orders that the gold orna- 
ments and utensils should be removed from the royal 
palaces, and from the temples and other public build 
ings, and transported without loss of time to Caxa- 
malca. Meanwhile he continued to live in the Spanish 
quarters, treated with the respect due to his rank, and 
enjoying all the freedom that was compatible with the 
security of his person. Though not permitted to go 
abroad, his limbs were unshackled, and he had the 
range of his own apartments under the jealous surveil- 
lance of a guard, who knew too well the value of the 
royal captive to be remiss. He was allowed the society 
of his favorite wives, and Pizarro took care that his 
domestic privacy should not be violated. His sub- 
jects had free access to their sovereign, and every day 
he received visits from the Indian nobles, who came 
to bring presents and offer condolence to their unfortu- 
nate master. On such occasions the most potent of 
these great vassals never ventured into his presence 
without first stripping off their sandals and bearing a 
load on their backs in token of reverence. The Span- 
iards gazed with curious eyes on these acts of homage, 
or rather of slavish submission, on the one side, and 
on the air of perfect indifference with which they were 
received, as a matter of course, on the other; and 
they conceived high ideas of the character of a prince 
who, even in his present helpless condition, could in- 
spire such feelings of awe in his subjects. The royal 
levee was so well attended, and such devotion was 
shown by his vassals to the captive monarch, as did 


not fail, in the end, to excite some feelings of distrust 
in his keepers.''^ 

Pizarro did not neglect the opportunity afforded him 
of communicating the truths of revelation to his pris- 
oner, and both he and his chaplain. Father Valverde, 
labored in the same good work. Atahuallpa listened 
with composure and apparent attention. But nothing 
seemed to move him so much as the argument with 
which the military polemic closed his discourse, — that 
it could not be the true God whom Atahuallpa wor- 
shipped, since he had suffered him to fall into the 
hands of his enemies. The unhappy monarch assented 
to the force of this, acknowledging that his Deity had 
indeed deserted him in his utmost need.'" 

Yet his conduct towards his brother Huascar at this 
time too clearly proves that, whatever respect he may 
have shown for the teachers, the doctrines of Chris- 
tianity had made little impression on his heart. No 
sooner had Huascar been informed of the capture of 
his rival, and of the large ransom he had offered for 
his deliverance, than, as the latter had foreseen, he 
made every effort to regain his liberty, and sent, or 
attempted to send, a message to the Spanish com- 
mander, that he would pay a much larger ransom than 
that promised by Atahuallpa, who, never having dwelt 
in Cuzco, was ignorant of the quantity of treasure 
there, and where it was deposited. 

43 Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, 
MS. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. 

44 " I mas dijo Atabalipa, que estaba espantado de lo que el Go- 
vemador le havia dicho : que bien conocia que aquel que hablaba en 
su Idolo, no es Dios verdadero, pues tan poco le aiud6." Xerez, Conq. 
del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 203. 



Intelligence of all this was secretly communicated 
to Atahuallpa by the persons who had his brother in 
charge; and his jealousy, thus roused, was further 
heightened by Pizarro's declaration that he intended to 
have Huascar brought to Caxamalca, where he would 
himself examine into the controversy and determine 
which of the two had the better title to the sceptre 
of the Incas. Pizarro perceived, from the first, the 
advantages of a competition which would enable him, 
by throwing his sword into the scale he preferred, to 
give it a preponderance. The party who held the 
sceptre by his nomination v/ould henceforth be a tool 
in his hands, with which to work his pleasure more 
effectually than he could well do in his own name. It 
was the game, as every reader knows, played by Ed- 
ward the First in the affairs of Scotland, and by many 
a monarch both before and since; and, though their 
examples may not have been familiar to the unlettered 
soldier, Pizarro was too quick in his perceptions to 
require, in this matter, at least, the teachings of 

Atahuallpa was much alarmed by the Spanish com- 
mander's determination to have the suit between the 
rival candidates brought before him; for he feared that, 
independently of the merits of the case, the decision 
would be likely to go in favor of Huascar, whose mild 
and ductile temper would make him a convenient in- 
strument in the hands of his conquerors. Without 
further hesitation, he determined to remove this cause 
of jealousy forever, by the death of his brother. 

His orders were immediately executed, and the un- 
happy prince was drowned, as was commonly reported, 


in the river of Andamarca, declaring with his dying 
breath that the white men would avenge his murder, 
and that his rival would not long survive him/^ Thus 
perished the unfortunate Huascar, the legitimate heir 
of the throne of the Incas, in the very morning of life, 
and the commencement of his reign; a reign, however, 
which had been long enough to call forth the display 
of many excellent and amiable qualities, though his 
nature was too gentle to cope with the bold and fiercer 
temper of his brother. Such is the portrait we have 
of him from the Indian and Castilian chroniclers; 
though the former, it should be added, were the kins- 
men of Huascar, and the latter certainly bore no good 
will to Atahuallpa."* 

That prince received the tidings of Huascar's death 
with every mark of surprise and indignation. He 
immediately sent for Pizarro, and communicated the 
event to him with expressions of the deepest sorrow. 
The Spanish commander refused, at first, to credit the 
unwelcome news, and bluntly told the Inca that his 
brother could not be dead, and that he should be 

45 Both the place and the manner of Huascar's death are reported 
with much discrepancy by the historians. All agree in the one im- 
portant fact that he died a violent death at the instigation of his 
brother. Conf. Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 2. — Xerez, 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 204. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. 
y Conq., MS. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Zarate, Conq. del 
Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. — Instruc. del Inga Titucussi, MS. 

46 Both Garcilasso de la Vega and Titucussi. Yupanqui were de- 
scendants from Huayna Capac, of the pure Peruvian stock, the natu- 
ral enemies, therefore, of their kinsman of Quito, whom they regarded 
as a usurper. Circumstances brought the Castilians into direct col- 
lision with Atahuallpa, and it was natural they should seek to darkeo 
his reputation by contrast with the lair character of his rival. 



answerable for his life/^ To this Atahuallpa replied 
by renewed assurances of the fact, adding that the 
deed had been perpetrated, without his privity, by 
Huascar's keepers, fearful that he might take advantage 
of the troubles of the country to make his escape. 
Pizarro, on making further inquiries, found that the 
report of his death was but too true. That it should 
have been brought about by Atahuallpa' s officers with- 
out his express command would only show that by so 
doing they had probably anticipated their master's 
wishes. The crime, which assumes in our eyes a 
deeper dye from the relation of the parties, had not 
the same estimation among the Incas, in whose multi- 
tudinous families the bonds of brotherhood must have 
sat loosely, — much too loosely to restrain the arm of 
the despot from sweeping away any obstacle that lay in 
his path. 

47 "Sabido esto por el Gobernador, mostr6, que le pesaba mucho: 
i dijo que era mentira, que no le havian muerto, que lo trujesen luego 
vivo: i sine, que h\ mandaria matar ^ Atabalipa." Xerez, Conq. del 
Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 204. 






Several weeks had now passed since Atahuallpa's 
emissaries had been despatched for the gold and silver 
that were to furnish his ransom to the Spaniards. But 
the distances were great, and the returns came in 
slowly. They consisted, for the most part, of massive 
pieces of plate, some of which weighed two or three 
arrobas, — a Spanish weight of twenty-five pounds. On 
some days, articles of the value of thirty or forty thou- 
sand pesos de oro were brought in, and, occasionally, 
of the value of fifty or even sixty thousand /<fj(7J. The 
greedy eyes of the Conquerors gloated on the shining 
heaps of treasure, which were transported on the shoul- 
ders of the Indian porters, and, after being carefully 
registered, were placed in safe deposit under a strong 
guard. They now began to believe that the magnifi- 
cent promises of the Inca would be fulfilled. But, as 
their avarice was sharpened by the ravishing display of 
wealth such as they had hardly dared to imagine, they 
became more craving and im[)atient. They made no 
allowance for the distance and the difficulties of the 
way, and loudly inveighed against the tardiness with 



which the royal commands were executed. They even 
suspected Atahuallpa of devising this scheme only to 
gain a pretext for communicating with his subjects in 
distant places, and of proceeding as dilatorily as pos- 
sible, in order to secure time for the execution of his 
plans. Rumors of a rising among the Peruvians were 
circulated, and the Spaniards were in apprehension of 
some general and sudden assault on their quarters. 
Their new acquisitions gave them additional cause for 
solicitude : like a miser, they trembled in the midst of 
their treasures.' 

Pizarro reported to his captive the rumors that were 
in circulation among the soldiers, naming, as one of 
the places pointed out for the rendezvous of the In- 
dians, the neighboring city of Huamachuco. Ata- 
huallpa listened with undisguised astonishment, and 
indignantly repelled the charge, as false from begin- 
ning to end. "No one of my subjects," said he, 
** would dare to appear in arms, or to raise his finger, 
without my orders. You have me," he continued, 
"in your power. Is not my life at your disposal? 
And what better security can you have for my fidelity ?" 
He then represented to the Spanish commander that 
the distances of many of the places were very great ; 
that to Cuzco, the capital, although a message might 
be sent by post, through a succession of couriers, in 
five days from Caxamalca, it would require weeks for a 
porter to travel over the same ground with a heavy 
load on his back. " But, that you may be satisfied I 
am proceeding in good faith," he added, "I desire 

» Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 6. — Naharro, Relacion suma- 
ria, MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 204. 


you will send some of your own people to Cuzco. I 
will give them a safe-conduct, and, when there, they 
can superintend the execution of the commission, and 
see with their own eyes that no hostile movements are 
intended." It was a fair offer; and Pizarro, anxious 
to get more precise and authentic information of the 
state of the country, gladly availed himself of it.' 

Before the departure of these emissaries, the general 
had despatched his brother Hernando with about twenty 
horse and a small body of infantry to the neighboring 
town of Huamachuco, in order to reconnoitre the 
country and ascertain if there was any truth in the re- 
port of an armed force having assembled there. Her- 
nando found every thing quiet, and met with a kind 
r-eception from the natives. ' But before leaving the 
place he received further orders from his brother to 
continue his march to Pachacamac, a town situated on 
the coast, at least a hundred leagues distant from Caxa- 
malca. It was consecrated as the seat of the great 
temple of the deity of that name, whom the Peruvians 
worshipped as the Creator of the world. It is said 
that they found there altars raised to this god, on their 
first occupation of the country; and such was the ven- 
eration in which he was held by the natives that the 
Incas, -instead of attempting to abolish his worship, 
deemed it more prudent to sanction it conjointly with 
that of their own deity, the Sur). Side by side the two 
temples rose on the heights that overlooked the city of 
Pachacamac, and prospered in the offerings of their 
respective votaries. "It was a cunning arrange- 

» Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. 
Barcia, torn. iii. pp. 203, 204. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. 



ment," says an ancient writer, "by which the great 
enemy of man secured to himself a double harvest of 
souls." ^ 

But the temple of Pachacamac continued to maintain 
its ascendency; and the oracles delivered from its dark 
and mysterious shrine were held in no less repute among 
the natives of Tavantinsuyii (or "the four quarters of 
the world," as Peru under the Incas was called) than 
the oracles of Delphi obtained among the Greeks. 
Pilgrimages were made to the hallowed spot from the 
most distant regions, and the city of Pachacamac be- 
came among the Peruvians what Mecca was among the 
Mahometans, or Cholula with the people of Anahuac. 
The shrine of the deity, enriched by the tributes of 
the pilgrims, gradually became one of the most opulent 
in the land ; and Atahuallpa, anxious to collect his 
ransom as speedily as possible, urged Pizarro to send a 
detachment in that direction, to secure the treasures 
before they could be secreted by the priests of the 

It was a journey of considerable difficulty. Two- 
thirds of the route lay along the table-land of the 
Cordilleras, intersected occasionally by crests of the 
mountain-range, that imposed no slight impediment 
to their progress. Fortunately, much of the way 
they had the benefit of the great road to Cuzco ; and 
"nothing in Christendom," exclaims Hernando Pi- 
zarro, "equals the magnificence of this road across 

3 " El demonio Pachacama alegre con este concierto, afirman que 
mostraua en sus respuestas gran contento : pues con lo vno y lo otro 
era el seruido, y quedauan las animas de los simples malauenturados 
presas en su poder." Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 72. 


the sierra." * In some places the rocky ridges were so 
precipitous that steps were cut in them for the travel- 
lers, and, though the sides were protected by heavy 
stone balustrades or parapets, it was with the greatest 
difficulty that the horses were enabled to scale them. 
The road was frequently crossed by streams, over which 
bridges of wood and sometimes of stone were thrown ; 
though occasionally, along the declivities of the moun- 
tains, the waters swept down in such furious torrents 
that the only method of passing them was by the 
swinging bridges of osier, of which till now the Span- 
iards had had little experience. They were secured on 
either bank to heavy buttresses of stone. But as they 
were originally designed for nothing heavier than the 
foot-passenger and the llama, and as they had some- 
thing exceedingly fragile in their appearance, the 
Spaniards hesitated to venture on them with their 
horses. Experience, however, soon showed they were 
capable of bearing a much greater weight ; and though 
the traveller, made giddy by the vibration of the long 
avenue, looked with a reeling brain into the torrent 
that was tumbling at the depth of a hundred feet or 
more below him, the whole of the cavalry effected 
their passage without an accident. At these bridges, 
it may be remarked, they found persons stationed whose 
business it was to collect toll for the government from 
all travellers. 5 

4 " El camino de las sierras es cosa de ver, porque en verdad en 
tierra tan fragosa en la cristiandad no se han visto tan hermosos cami- 
nos, toda la mayor parte de calzada." Carta, MS. 

s " Todos los arroyos tienen puentes de piedra 6 de madera: en un 
no grande, que era muy caudaloso e muy grande, que pasamos dos 
veces, hallamos puentes de red, que es cosa maravillosa de ver; pasa- 



The Spaniards were amazed by the number as well 
as magnitude of the flocks of llamas which they saw 
browsing on the stunted herbage that grows in the 
elevated regions of the Andes. Sometimes they were 
gathered in enclosures, but more usually were roaming 
at large under the conduct of their Indian shepherds ; 
and the Conquerors now learned, for the first time, 
that these animals were tended with as much care, and 
their migrations as nicely regulated, as those of the 
vast flocks of merinos in their own country.* 

The table-land and its declivities were thickly 
sprinkled with hamlets and towns, some of them of 
considerable size ; and the country in every direction 
bore the marks of a thrifty husbandry. Fields of 
Indian corn were to be seen in all its different stages, 
from the green and tender ear to the yellow ripeness 
of harvest-time. As they descended into the valleys 
and deep ravines that divided the crests of the Cor- 
dilleras, they were surrounded by the vegetation of a 
warmer climate, which delighted the eye with the gay 
livery of a thousand bright colors and intoxicated the 
senses with its perfumes. Everywhere the natural 
capacities of the soil were stimulated by a minute 

mos por ellas los caballos; tienen en cada pasaje dos puentes, la una 
por donde pasa la gente comun, la otra por donde pasa el senor de la 
tierra 6 sus capitanes: esta tienen siempre cerrada e indios que la 
guardan; estos indios cobran portazgo de los que pasan." Carta de 
Hern. Pizarro, MS. — Also Relacion del primer Descub,. MS. 

* k. comical blunder has been made by the printer, in M. Ternaux- 
Compans' excellent translation of Xerez, in the account of this ex- 
pedition : " On trouve sur toute la route beaucoup de pores, de 
lamas." (Relation de la Conquete du Perou, p. 157.) The substitu- 
tion oi pores {qx pares might well lead the reader into the error of 
supposing that swine existed in Peru before the Conquest. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — T 37 


system of irrigation, which drew the fertilizing moist- 
ure from every stream and rivulet that rolled down 
the declivities of the Andes; while the terraced sides 
of the mountains were clothed with gardens and 
orchards that teemed with fruits of various latitudes. 
The Spaniards could not sufficiently admire the indus- 
try with which the natives had availed themselves of 
the bounty of Nature, or had supplied the deficiency 
where she had dealt with a more parsimonious hand. 

Whether from the commands of the Inca, or from 
the awe which their achievements had spread through- 
out the land, the Conquerors were received, in every 
place through which they passed, with hospitable kind- 
ness. Lodgings were provided for them, with ample 
refreshments from the well-stored magazines distributed 
at intervals along the route. In many of the towns the 
inhabitants came out to welcome them with singing 
and dancing, and, when they resumed their march, a 
number of able-bodied porters were furnished to carry 
forward their baggage. ^ 

At length, after some weeks of travel, severe even 
with all these appliances, Hernando Pizarro arrived 
before the city of Pachacamac. It was a place of 
considerable population, and the edifices were, many 
of them, substantially built. The temple of the tutelar 
deity consisted of a vast stone building, or rather pile 
of buildings, which, clustering around a conical hill, 

7 Carta de Hernando Pizarro, MS. — Estete, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. pp. 
206. 207. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Both the last-cited 
author and Miguel Estete, the royal veedor or inspector, accompanied 
Hernando Pizarro on this e.xpedition, and, of course, were eye-wit- 
nesses, like himself, of what they relate. Estete's narrative is incor- 
porated by the secretary Xerez in his own. 



had the air of a fortress rather than a religious estab- 
lishment. But, though the walls were of stone, the 
roof was composed of a light thatch, as usual in 
countries where rain seldom or never falls, and where 
defence, consequently, is wanted chiefly against the 
rays of the sun. 

Presenting himself at the lower entrance of the 
temple, Hernando Pizarro was refused admittance by 
the guardians of the portal. But, exclaiming that '* he 
had come too far to be stayed by the arm of an Indian 
priest," he forced his way into the passage, and, 
followed by his men, wound up the gallery which led 
to an area on the summit of the mount, at one end of 
which stood a sort of chapel. This was the sanctuary 
of the dread deity. The door was garnished with 
ornaments of crystal and Avith turquoises and bits of 
coral.' Here again the Indians would have dissuaded 
Pizarro from violating the consecrated precincts, when 
at that moment the shock of an earthquake, that 
made the ancient walls tremble to their foundation, so 
alarmed the natives, both those of Pizarro's own 
company and the people of the place, that they fled 
in dismay, nothing doubting that their incensed deity 
would bury the invaders under the ruins or consume 
them with his lightnings. But no such terror found 
its way into the breasts of the Conquerors, who felt 
that here, at least, they were fighting the good tight of 
the Faith. 

Tearing open the door, Pizarro and his party en- 
tered. But, instead of a hall blazing, as they had fondly 

8 " Esta puerta era muy tejida de diversas cosas de corales y turque- 
«as y cristales y otras cosas." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 


imagined, with gold and precious stones, offerings of 
the worshippers of Pachacamac, they found themselves 
in a small and obscure apartment, or rather den, from 
the floor and sides of which steamed up the most offen- 
sive odors, — like those of a slaughter-house. It was 
the place of sacrifice. A few pieces of gold and some 
emeralds were discovered on the ground, and, as their 
eyes became accommodated to the darkness, they dis- 
cerned in the most retired corner of the room the 
figure of the deity. It was an uncouth monster, made 
of wood, with the head resembling that of a man. This 
was the god through whose lips Satan had breathed 
forth the far-famed oracles which had deluded his 
Indian votaries !' 

Tearing the idol from its recess, the indignant Span- 
iards dragged it into the open air and there broke it 
into a hundred fragments. The place was then puri- 
fied, and a large cross, made of stone and plaster, was 
erected on the spot. In a few years the walls of the 
temple were pulled down by the Spanish settlers, who 
found there a convenient quarry for their own edifices. 
But the cross still remained spreading its broad arms 
over the ruins. It stood where it was planted in the 
very heart of the stronghold of heathendom ; and, 
while all was in ruins around it, it proclaimed the 
permanent triumphs of the Faith. 

9 " Aquel era Pachacama, el cual les sanaba de sus enfermedades, 
y il lo que alii se entendio, el Demonio aparecia en aquella cueba i 
aqiiellos sacerdotes y hablaba con ellos, y estos entraban con las peti- 
ciones y ofrendas de los que venian en romeria, que es cierto que del 
todo el Senorio de Atabalica iban alii, como los Moros y Turcos van 
i. la casa de Meca." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Also Estete, 
ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 209. 



The simple natives, finding that Heaven had no 
bolts in store for the Conquerors, and that their god 
had no power to prevent the profanation of his shrine, 
came in gradually and tendered their homage to the 
strangers, whom they now regarded with feelings of 
superstitious awe. Pizarro profited by this temper to 
wean them, if possible, from their idolatry ; and, 
though no preacher himself, as he tells us, he delivered 
a discourse as edifying, doubtless, as could be expected 
from the mouth of a soldier;'" and, in conclusion, he 
taught them the sign of the cross, as an inestimable 
talisman to secure them against the future machinations 
of the devil." 

But the Spanish commander was not so absorbed in 
his spiritual labors as not to have an eye to those tem- 
poral concerns forwhich he had been sent to thisquartei. 
He now found, to his chagrin, that he had come some- 
what too late, and that the priests of Pachacamac, 
being advised of his mission, had secured much the 
greater part of the gold and decamped with it before 
his arriyal. A quantity was afterwards discovered 
buried in the grounds adjoining." Still, the amount 
obtained was considerable, falling little short of eighty 
thousand castellanos, a sum which once would have 

»° " 6 a falta de predicador les hice mi sermon, diciendo el engano 
en que vivtan." Carta de Hern. Pizarro, MS. 

»» Ibid., ilS. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Estete, ap. Bar- 
cia, torn. iii. p. 209. 

" " Y andando los tiSpos el capitan Rodrigo Orgonez, y Francisco 
de Godoy, y otros sacaron gra summa de ore y plata de los enterra- 
mientos. Y aun se presume y tiene por cierto, que ay mucho mas : 
pero como no se sabe donde esta enterrado, se pierde." Cieza de 
Leon, Cronica, cap. 72. 



been deemed a compensation for greater fatigues than 
they had encountered. But the Spaniards had become 
familiar with gold ; and their imaginations, kindled by 
the romantic adventures in which they had of late been 
engaged, indulged in visions which all the gold of Peru 
would scarcely have realized. 

One prize, however, Hernando obtained by his expe 
dition, which went far to console him for the loss of 
his treasure. While at Pachacamac, he learned that 
the Indian commander Challcuchima lay with a large 
force in the neighborhood of Xauxa, a town of 
some strength at a considerable distance among the 
mountains. This man, who was nearly related to 
Atahuallpa, was his most experienced general, and, 
together with Quizquiz, now at Cuzco, had achieved 
those victories at the south which placed the Inca on 
the throne. From his birth, his talents, and his large 
experience, he was accounted second to no subject in 
the kingdom. Pizarro was aware of the importance of 
securing his person. Finding that the Indian noble 
declined to meet him on his return, he determined to 
march at once on Xauxa and take the chief in his own 
quarters. Such a scheme, considering the enormous 
disparity of numbers, might seem desperate even for 
Spaniards. But success had given them such confi- 
dence that they hardly condescended to calculate 

The road across the mountains presented greater 
difficulties than those on the former march. To add 
to the troubles of the cavalry, the shoes of their horses 
were worn out, and their hoofs suffered severely on the 
rough and stony ground. There was no iron at hand, 



nothing but gold and silver. In the present emergency 
they turned even these to account ; and Pizarro caused 
the horses of the whole troop to be shod with silver. 
The work was done by the Indian smiths, and it 
answered so well that in this precious material they 
found a substitute for iron during the remainder of the 
march. '3 

Xauxa was a large and populous place ; though we 
shall hardly credit the assertion of the Conquerors, that 
a hundred thousand persons assembled habitually in 
the great square of the city.'* The Peruvian com- 
mander was encamped, it was said, with an army of 
five-and-thirty thousand men, at only a few miles' 
distance from the town. With some difficulty he was 
persuaded to an interview with Pizarro. The latter 
addressed him courteously, and urged his return with 
him to the Castilian quarters in Caxamalca, repre- 
senting it as the command of the Inca. Ever since 
the capture of his master, Challcuchima had remained 
uncertain what course to take. The capture of the 
Inca in this sudden and mysterious manner by a race 

'3 " Hicieron hacer herrage de herraduras e clavos para sus Caballos 
de Plata, los cuales hicieron los cien Indios fundidores muy buenos k 
cuantos quisieron de ellos.con el cual herrage andubieron dos ineses." 
(Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 16.) The author 
of the Relacion del primer Descubrimiento, MS., says they shod the 
horses with silver and copper. And another of the Peruvian Conquer- 
ors assures us they used gold and silver. (Relatione d'un Capitano 
Spagnuolo, ap. Ramusio, N'avigationi et Viaggi, Venetia, 156=;, torn, 
iii. fol. 376.) All agree as to tlie silver. 

•♦ " Era mucha la Gente de aquel Pueblo, i de sus Comarcas, que 
al parecer de los Espanoles, se juntaban cada Dia en la Plaga Princi- 
pal cien mil Personas." Estete, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 230. 


of beings who seemed to have dropped from the 
clouds, and that too in the very hour of his triumph, 
had entirely bewildered the Peruvian chief. He had 
concerted no plan for the rescue of Atahuallpa, nor, 
indeed, did he know whether any such movement 
would be acceptable to him. He now acquiesced 
in his commands, and was willing, at all events, to 
have a personal interview with his sovereign. Pizarro 
gained his end without being obliged to strike a single 
blow to effect it. The barbarian, when brought into 
contact with the white man, would seem to have 
been rebuked by his superior genius, in the same 
manner as the wild animal of the forest is said to quail 
'jefore the steady glance of the hunter. 

Challcuchima came attended by a numerous retinue. 
He was borne in his sedan on the shoulders of his 
vassals, and, as he accompanied the Spaniards on 
their return through the country, received every- 
where from the inhabitants the homage paid only to 
the favorite of a monarch. ' Yet all this pomp vanished 
on his entering the presence of the Inca, whom he 
approached with his feet bare, while a light burden, 
which he had taken from one of the attendants, was 
laid on his back. As he drew near, the old warrior, 
raising his hands to heaven, exclaimed, "Would that I 
had been here ! — this would not then have happened;" 
then, kneeling down, he kissed the hands and feet of 
his royal master and bathed them with his tears. Ata- 
huallpa, on his part, betrayed not the least emotion, 
and showed no other sign of satisfaction at the pres- 
ence of his favorite counsellor than by simply bidding 
him welcome. The cold demeanor of the monarch 


contrasted strangely with the loyal sensibility of the 
subject. '5 

The rank of the Inca placed him at an immeasurable 
distance above the proudest of his vassals ; and the 
Spaniards had repeated occasion to admire the ascend- 
ency which, even in his present fallen fortunes, he 
maintained over his people, and the awe with which 
they approached him. Pedro Pizarro records an in- 
terview, at which he was present, between Atahuallpa 
and one of his great nobles, who had obtained leave to 
visit some remote part of the country on condition of 
returning by a certain day. He was detained some- 
what beyond the appointed time, and on entering the 
presence with a small propitiatory gift for his sovereign 
his knees shook so violently that it seemed, says the 
chronicler, as if he would have fallen to the ground. 
His master, however, received him kindJy, and dis- 
missed him without a word of rebuke.^* 

Atahuallpa in his confinement continued to receive 
the same respectful treatment from the Spaniards as 
hitherto. They taught him to play with dice, and the 
more intricate game of chess, in which the royal 
captive became expert, and loved to beguile^^with it 
the tedious hours of his imprisonment. Towards his 
own people he maintained as far as possible his wonted 
state and ceremonial. He was attended by his wives 
and the girls of his harem, who, as was customary, 
waited on him at table and discharged the other menial 

»S Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — " The like of it," exclaims 
Estete, "was never before seen since the Indies were discovered." 
Ibid., p. 231. 

»* Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. 


offices about his person. A body of Indian nobles 
were stationed in the antechamber, but never entered 
the presence unbidden ; and when they did enter it 
they submitted to the same humiliating ceremonies 
imposed on the greatest of his subjects. The service 
of his table was gold and silver plate. His dress, 
which he often changed, was composed of the wool of 
tlie vicuna wrought into mantles, so fine that it had 
the appearance of silk. He sometimes exchanged 
these for a robe made of the skins of bats, as soft and 
sleek as velvet. Round his head he wore the llautu, a 
woollen turban or shawl of the most delicate texture, 
wreathed in folds of various bright colors ; and he 
still continued to encircle his temples with the borla, 
the crimson threads of which, mingled with gold, 
descended so as partly to conceal his eyes. The 
image of royalty had charms for him, when its sub- 
stance had departed. No garment or utensil that had 
once belonged to the Peruvian sovereign could ever be 
used by another. When he laid it aside, it was care- 
fully deposited in a chest, kept for the purpose, and 
afterwards burned. It would have been sacrilege to 
apply to vulgar uses that which had been consecrated 
by the touch of the Inca.'^ 

Not long after the arrival of the party from Pacha- 
camac, in the latter part of May, the three emissaries 
returned from Cuzco. They had been very successful 
in their mission. Owing to the Inca's order, and the 

^ This account of the personal habits of Atahuallpa is taken from 
Pedro Pizarro, who saw him often in his confinement. As his curious 
narrative is little known, I have extracted the original in Appendix 
No. 9. 



awe which the white men now inspired throughout the 
country, the Spaniards had everywhere met with a kind 
reception. They had been carried on the shoulders of 
the natives in the hamacas, or sedans, of the country ; 
and, as they had travelled all the way to the capital on 
the great imperial road, along which relays of Indian 
carriers were established at stated intervals, they per- 
formed this journey of more than six hundred miles, 
not only without inconvenience, but with the most 
luxurious ease. They passed through many populous 
towns, and always found the simple natives disposed to 
venerate them as beings of a superior nature. In Cuzco 
they were received with public festivities, were sump- 
tuously lodged, and had every want anticipated by the 
obsequious devotion of the inhabitants. 

Their accounts of the capital confirmed all that 
Pizarro had before heard of the wealth and population 
of the city. Though they had remained more than a 
week in this place, the emissaries had not seen the 
whole of it. The great temple of the Sun they found 
literally covered with plates of gold. They had entered 
the interior and beheld the royal mummies, seated each 
in his gold-embossed chair and in robes profusely cov- 
ered with ornaments. The Spaniards had the grace to 
respect these, as they had been previously enjoined by 
the Inca ; but they required that the plates which gar- 
nished the walls should be all removed. The Peru- 
vians most reluctantly acquiesced in the commands of 
their sovereign to desecrate the national temple, which 
every inhabitant of the city regarded with peculiar 
pride and veneration. With less reluctance they as- 
sisted the Conquerors in stripping the ornaments from 


some of the other edifices, where the gold, however, 
being mixed with a large proportion of alloy, was of 
much less value.'® 

The number of plates they tore from the temple of 
the Sun was seven hundred ; and though of no great 
thickness, probably, they are compared in size to the 
lid of a chest, ten or twelve inches wide.'' A cornice 
of pure gold encircled the edifice, but so strongly set 
in the stone that it fortunately defied the efforts of the 
spoilers. The Spaniards complained of the want of 
alacrity shown by the Indians in the work of destruc- 
tion, and said that there were other parts of the city 
containing buildings rich in gold and silver which they 
had not been allowed to see. In truth, their mission, 
which at best was a most ungrateful one, had been 
rendered doubly annoying by the manner in which 
they had executed it. The emissaries were men of a 
very low stamp, and, puffed up by the honors conceded 
to theni by the natives, they looked on themselves as 
entitled to these, and contemned the poor Indians as 
a race immeasurably beneath the European. They not 
only showed the most disgusting rapacity, but treated 
the highest nobles with wanton insolence. They even 
went so far, it is said, as to violate the privacy of the 
convents, and to outrage the religious sentiments of 
the Peruvians by their scandalous amours with the 
Virgins of the Sun. The people of Cuzco were so 

*8 Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 375. — Pedro 
Pizairo, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 2, 
cap. 12, 13. 

'9 " I de las Chapas de oro. que esta Casa tenia, quitaron setecientas 
Planchas . . . k manera de Tablas de Caxas de \ tres, i k quatro 
palmos de largo." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 23a 



exasperated that they would have laid violent hands on 
them, but for their habitual reverence for the Inca, in 
whose name the Spaniards had come there. As it was, 
the Indians collected as much gold as was necessary to 
satisfy their unworthy visitors, and got rid of them as 
speedily as possible.^" It was a great mistake in Pizarro 
to send such men. There were persons, even in his 
company, who, as other occasions showed, had some 
sense of self-respect, if not respect for the natives. 

The messengers brought with them, besides silver, 
full two hundred cargas or loads of gold." This was 
an important accession to the contributions of Ata- 
huallpa ; and, although the treasure was still consider- 
ably below the mark prescribed, the monarch saw with 
satisfaction the time drawing nearer for the completion 
of his ransom. 

Not long before this, an event had occurred which 
changed the condition of the Spaniards and had an 
unfavorable influence on the fortunes of the Inca. 
This was the arrival of Almagro at Caxamalca, with a 
strong reinforcement. That chief had succeeded, after 
great efforts, in equipping three vessels and assembling 
a body of one hundred and fifty men, with which he 
sailed from Panama the latter part of the preceding 
year. On his voyage he was joined by a small addi- 

«> Herrera, Hist, general, ubi supra. 

*' So says Pizarro's secretary : " I vinieron docientas cargas de 
Oro, i veinte i cinco de Plata." (Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, 
ubi supra.) A load, he says, was brought by four Indians. " Cargas 
de Paligueres, que las traen quatro Indios." The meaning of /a//- 
gtieres — not a Spanish word — is doubtful. Temaux-Compans sup- 
poses, ingeniously enough, that it may have something of the same 
meaning with palanquin, to which it bears some resemblance. 
Peru— Vol. I. 38 


tional force from Nicaragua, so that his whole strength 
amounted to one hundred and fifty foot and fifty horse, 
well provided with the munitions of war. His vessels 
were steered by the old pilot Ruiz ; but, after making 
the Bay of St. Matthew, he crept slowly along the 
coast, baffled as usual by winds and currents, and ex- 
periencing all the hardships incident to that protracted 
navigation. From some cause or other, he was not so 
fortunate as to obtain tidings of Pizarro ; and so dis- 
heartened were his followers, most of whom were raw 
adventurers, that when arrived at Puerto Viejo they 
proposed to abandon the expedition and return at once 
to Panama. Fortunately, one of the little squadron 
which Almagro had sent forward to Tumbez brought 
intelligence of Pizarro and of the colony he had 
planted at San Miguel. Cheered by the tidings, the 
cavalier resumed his voyage, and succeeded at length, 
towards the close of December, 1532, in bringing his 
whole party safe to the Spanish settlement. 

He there received the account of Pizarro's march 
across the mountains, his seizure of the Inca, and, soon 
afterwards, of the enormous ransom offered for his lib- 
eration. Almagro and his companions listened with 
undisguised amazement to this account of his associate, 
and of a change in his fortunes so rapid and wonder- 
ful that it seemed little less than magic. At the same 
time, he received a caution from some of the colonists 
not to trust himself in the power of Pizarro, who was 
known to bear him no good will. 

Not long after Almagro's arrival at San Miguel, ad- 
vices were sent of it to Caxamalca, and a private note 
from his secretary Perez informed Pizarro that his asso- 


date had come with no purpose of co-operating with 
him, but with the intention to establish an independent 
government. Both of the Spanish captains seem to 
have been surrounded by mean and turbulent spirits, 
who sought to embroil them with each other, trusting, 
doubtless, to find their own account in the rupture. 
For once, however, their malicious machinations failed. 

Pizarro was overjoyed at the arrival of so consider- 
able a reinforcement, which would enable him to push 
his fortunes as he had desired, and go forward with the 
conquest of the country. He laid little stress on the 
secretary's communication, since, whatever might have 
been Almagro's original purpose, Pizarro knew that the 
richness of the vein he had now opened in the land 
would be certain to secure his co-operation in working 
it. He had the magnanimity, therefore, — for there is 
something magnanimous in being able to stifle the sug- 
gestions of a petty rivalry in obedience to sound policy, 
— to send at once to his ancient comrade, and invite 
him, with many assurances of friendship, to Caxamalca. 
Almagro, who was of a frank and careless nature, re- 
ceived the communication in the spirit in which it was 
made, and, after some necessary delay, directed his 
march into the interior. But before leaving San Miguel, 
having become acquainted with the treacherous conduct 
of his secretary, he recompensed his treason by hang- 
ing him on the spot." 

Almagro reached Caxamalca about the middle of 

*» Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Xerez, Conq. del Peru, 
ap. Barcia, torn. iii. pp. 204, 205. — Relacion sumaria, MS. — Conq. i 
Pob. del Piru, MS. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Herrera, 
Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. i. 


February, 1533. The soldiers of Pizarro came out to 
welcome their countrymen, and the two captains em- 
braced each other with every mark of cordial satis- 
faction. All past differences were buried in oblivion, 
and they seemed only prepared to aid one another in 
following up the brilliant career now opened to them 
in the conquest of an empire. 

There was one person in Caxamalca on whom this 
arrival of the Spaniards produced a very different im- 
pression from that made on their own countrymen. 
This was the Inca Atahuallpa. He saw in the new- 
comers only a new swarm of locusts to devour his 
unhappy country; and he felt that, with his enemies 
thus multiplying around him, the chances were dimin- 
ished of recovering his freedom, or of maintaining it 
if recovered. A little circumstance, insignificant in 
itself, but magnified by superstition into something 
formidable, occurred at this time to cast an additional 
gloom over his situation. 

A remarkable appearance, somewhat of the nature 
of a meteor, or it may have been a comet, was seen in 
the heavens by some soldiers and pointed out to Ata- 
huallpa. He gazed on it with fixed attention for some 
minutes, and then exclaimed, with a dejected air, that 
"a similar sign had been seen in the skies a short time 
before the death of his father Huayna Capac." *^ From 
this day a sadness seemed to take possession of him, 
as he looked with doubt and undefined dread to the 
future. Thus it is that in seasons of danger the mind, 
like the senses, becomes morbidly acute in its percep- 

»3 Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 377.— 
Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 65. 


tions, and the least departure from the regular course 
of nature, that would have passed unheeded in ordinary 
times, to the superstitious eye seems pregnant with 
meaning, as in some way or other connected with the 
destiny of the individual. 






The arrival of Almagro produced a considerable 
change in Pizarro's prospects, since it enabled him to 
resume active operations and push forward his con- 
quests in the interior. The only obstacle in his way 
was the Inca's ransom, and the Spaniards had patiently 
waited, till the return of the emissaries from Cuzco 
swelled the treasure to a large amount, though still 
below the stipulated limit. But now their avarice got 
the better of their forbearance, and they called loudly 
for the immediate division of the gold. To wait 
longer would only be to invite the assault of their 
enemies, allured by a bait so attractive. While the 
treasure remained uncounted, no man knew its value, 
nor what was to be his own portion. It was better to 
distribute it at once, and let every one possess and 
defend his own. Several, moreover, were now dis- 
posed to return home and take their share of the gold 
with them, where they could place it in safety. But 
these were few; while much the larger part were only 
anxious to leave their present quarters and march at 
once to Cuzco. More gold, they thought, awaited 
them in that capital than they could get here by pro- 


longing their stay; while every hour was precious, to 
prevent the inhabitants from secreting their treasures, 
of which design they had already given indication. 

Pizarro was especially moved by the last consider- 
ation ; and he felt that without the capital he could not 
hope to become master of the empire. Without further 
delay, the division of the treasure was agreed upon. 

Vet, before making this, it was necessary to reduce 
the whole to ingots of a uniform standard, for the 
spoil was composed of an infinite variety of articles, in 
which the gold was of very different degrees of purity. 
These articles consisted of goblets, ewers, salvers, vases 
of every shape and size, ornaments and utensils for the 
temples and the royal palaces, tiles and plates for the 
decoration of the public edifices, curious imitations of 
different plants and animals. Among the plants, the 
most beautiful was the Indian com, in which the golden 
ear was sheathed in its broad leaves of silver, from which 
hung a rich tassel of threads of the same precious metal. 
A fountain was also much admired, which sent up a 
sparkling jet of gold, while birds and animals of the 
same material played in the waters at its base. The 
delicacy of the workmanship of some of these, and the 
beauty and ingenuity of the design, attracted the admira- 
tion of better judges than the rude Conquerors of Peru.' 
Before breaking up these specimens of Indian art, 

» Relatione de Pedro Sancho, ap. Ramusio, Viaggi, torn, iii. foi. 
399.— Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 233.— Zarate, 
Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7.— Oviedo saw at St. Domingo the articles 
which Hernando Pizarro was bearing to Castile ; and he expatiates 
on several beautifully-wrought vases, richly chased, of very fine gold, 
and measuring twelve inches in height and thirty round. Hist, de las 
Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 16. 


it was determined to send a quantity, which should be 
deducted from the royal fifth, to the emperor. It 
would serve as a sample of the ingenuity of the natives, 
and would show him the value of his conquests. A 
number of the most beautiful articles was selected, of 
the value of a hundred thousand ducats, and Her- 
nando Pizarro was appointed to be the bearer of them 
to Spain. He was to obtain an audience of Charles, 
and at the same time that he laid the treasures before 
him he was to give an account of the proceedings of 
the Conquerors, and to seek a further augmentation 
of their powers and dignities. 

No man in the army was better qualified for this 
mission, by his address and knowledge of affairs, than 
Hernando Pizarro; no one would be so likely to urge 
his suit with effect at the haughty Castilian court. But 
other reasons influenced the selection of him at the 
present juncture. 

His former jealousy of Almagro still rankled in his 
bosom, and he had beheld that chief's arrival at the 
camp with feelings of disgust, which he did not care 
to conceal. He looked on him as coming to share the 
spoils of victory and defraud his brother of his legiti- 
mate honors. Instead of exchanging the cordial greet- 
ing proffered by Almagro at their first interview, the 
arrogant cavalier held back in sullen silence. His 
brother Francis was greatly displeased at conduct 
which threatened to renew their ancient feud, and he 
induced Hernando to accompany him to Almagro's 
quarters and make some acknowledgment for his un- 
courteous behavior,' But, notwithstanding this show 

» Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 3. 



of reconciliation, the general thought the present a 
favorable opportunity to remove his brother from the 
scene of operations, where his factious spirit more than 
counterbalanced his eminent services.^ 

The business of melting down the plate was intrusted 
to the Indian goldsmiths, who were thus required to 
undo the work of their own hands. They toiled day 
and night, but such was the quantity to be recast that 
it consumed a full month. When the whole was re- 
duced to bars of a uniform standard, they were nicely 
weighed, under the superintendence of the royal in- 
spectors. The total amount of the gold was found to 
be one million three hundred and twenty-six thou- 
sand five hundred and thirty-nine pesos de oro, which, 
allowing for the greater value of money in the six- 
teenth century, would be equivalent, probably, at the 
present time, to near three millions and a half of pounds 
sterling, or somewhat less than fifteeti millions and a 
half of dollars.^ The quantity of silver was estimated 

3 According to Oviedo, it was agreed that Hernando should have a 
share much larger than he was entitled to of the Inca's ransom, in 
the hope that he would feel so rich as never to desire to return again 
to Peru : " Trabajaron de le embiar rico por quitarle de entre ellos, y 
porque yendo muy rico como fue no tubiese voluntad de tornar d 
aquellas partes." Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3. lib. 8, cap. 16. 

4 Acta de Reparticion del Rescate de Atahuallpa, MS. — Xerez, 
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 232. — In reducing the sums 
mentioned in this work, I have availed myself — as I before did, in the 
History of the Conquest of Mexico — of the labors of Sefior Cle- 
mencin, formerly Secretary of the Royal Academy of History at 
Madrid. This eminent scholar, in the sixth volume of the Memoirs 
of the Academy, prepared wholly by himself, has introduced an elab- 
orate essay on the value of the currency in the reign of Ferdinand and 
Isabella. Although this period — the close of the fifteenth century — 
was somewhat earlier than that of the Conquest of Peru, jjp t his cal- 


at fifty-one thousand six hundred and ten marks. His- 
tory affords no parallel of such a booty — and that, too, 

culations are sufficiently near the truth for our purpose, since the 
Spanish currency had not as yet been much affected by that disturb- 
ing cause, the influx of the precious metals from the New World. 
In inquiries into the currency of a remote age, we may consider, in 
the first place, the specific value of the coin, — that is, the value which 
it derives from the weight, purity, etc., of the metal, circumstances 
easily determined. In the second place, we may inquire into the 
commercial or comparative worth of the money, — that is, the value 
founded on a comparison of the difTerence between the amount of 
commodities which the same sum would purchase formerly and at the 
present time. The latter inquiry is attended with great embarrassment, 
from the difificulty of finding any one article which may be taken as 
the true standard of value. Wheat, from its general cultivation and 
use, has usually been selected by political economists as this standard; 
and Clemencin has adopted it in his calculations. Assuming wheat as 
the standard, he has endeavored to ascertain the value of the principal 
coins in circulation at the time of the "Catholic Kings." He makes 
no mention in his treatise of the peso de oro, by which denomination 
the sums in the early part of the sixteenth century were more fre- 
quently expressed than by any other. But he ascertains both the 
specific and the commercial value of the, which several of 
the old writers, as Oviedo, Herrera, and Xerez, concur in stating as 
precisely equivalent to the peso de oro. From the results of his cal- 
culations, it appears that the specific value of the castellano, as stated 
by him in reals, is equal to three dollars and seven cents of our own 
currency, while the commercial value is nearly four times as great, or 
eleven dollars sixty-seven cents, equal to two pounds twelve shillings 
and sixpence sterling. By adopting this as the approximate value of 
the peso de oro in the early part of the sixteenth century, the reader 
may easily compute for himself the value, at that period, of the sums 
mentioned in these pages; most of which are expressed in that de- 
nomination. I have been the more particular in this statement since 
m my former work I confined myself to the commercial value of the 
money, which, being much greater than the specific value, founded 
on the quality and weight of the metal, was thought by an ingenious 
correspondent to give the reader an exaggerated estimate of the sums 
mentioned in the history. But it seems to me that it is only this conn- 



in the most convertible form, in ready money, as it 
were — having fallen to the lot of a little band of mili- 
tary adventurers, like the Conquerors of Peru. The 
great object of the Spanish expeditions in the New 
World was gold. It is remarkable that their success 
should have been so complete. Had they taken the 
track of the English, the French, or the Dutch, on the 
shores of the northern continent, how different would 
have been the result ! It is equally worthy of remark 
that the wealth thus suddenly acquired, by diverting 
them from the slow but surer and more permanent 
sources of national prosperity, has in the end glided 
from their grasp and left them among the poorest of 
the nations of Christendom. 

A new difficulty now arose in respect to the division 
of the treasure. Almagro's followers claimed to be 
admitted to a share of it ; Avhich, as they equalled 
and, indeed, somewhat exceeded in number Pizarro's 
company, would reduce the gains of these last very 
materially. "We were not here, it is true," said 
Almagro's soldiers to their comrades, "at the seizure 
of the Inca, but we have taken our turn in mounting 
guard over him since his capture, have helped you to 
defend ycur treasures, and now give you the means 
of going forward and securing your conquests. It is a 
common cause," they urged, "in which all are equally 

parative or commercial value with which the reader has any concern ; 
indicating what amount of commodities any given sum represents, 
that he may thus know the real worth of that sum, — thus adopting the 
principle, though conversely stated, of the old Hudibrastic maxim, — 

" What is worth in any thing. 
But so much money as 't will bring?" 


embarked, and the gains should be shared equally be- 
tween us." 

But this way of viewing the matter was not at all 
palatable to Pizarro's company, who alleged that Ata- 
huallpa's contract had been made exclusively with 
thera ; that they had seized the Inca, had secured the 
ransom, had incurred, in short, all the risk of the 
enterprise, and were not now disposed to share the 
fruits of it with every one who came after them. 
There was much force, it could not be denied, in this 
reasoning, and it was finally settled between the leaders 
that Almagro's followers should resign their pretensions 
for a stipulated sum of no great amount, and look to 
the career now opened to them for carving out their 
fortunes for themselves. 

This delicate affair being thus harmoniously adjusted, 
Pizarro prepared, with all solemnity, for a division of 
the imperial spoil. The troops were called together in 
the great square, and the Spanish commander, "with 
the fear of God before his eyes," says the record, 
"invoked the assistance of Heaven to do the work 
before him conscientiously and justly. "* The appeal 
may seem somewhat out of place at the distribution of 
spoil so unrighteously acquired ; yet in truth, consider- 
ing the magnitude of the treasure, and the power 
assumed by Pizarro to distribute it according to the 
respective deserts of the individuals, there were few 
acts of his life involving a heavier responsibility. On 

S " Segun Dios Nuestro Sefior se diere i. entender teniendo su 
conciencia y para lo mejor hazer pedia al ayuda de Dios Nuestro 
Sefior, e imboco el auxilio divino." Acta de Reparticion del Rescate, 


his present decision might be said to hang the future 
fortunes of each one of his followers, — poverty or 
independence during the remainder of his days. 

The royal fifth was first deducted, including the 
remittance already sent to Spain. The share appro- 
priated by Pizarro amounted to fifty-seven thousand 
two hundred and twenty-two pesos of gold, and two 
thousand three hundred and fifty marks of silver. He 
had besides this the great chair or throne of the Inca, 
of solid gold, and valued at twenty-five thousand pesos 
de oro. To his brother Hernando were paid thirty-one 
thousand and eighty pesos of gold, and two thousand 
three hundred and fifty marks of silver. De Soto 
received seventeen thousand seven hundred and forty 
pesos of gold, and seven hundred and twenty-four 
marks of silver. Most of the remaining cavalry, sixty 
in number, received each eight thousand eight hundred 
and eighty pesos of gold, and three hundred and sixty- 
two marks of silver, though some had more, and a few 
considerably less. The infantry mustered in all one 
hundred and five men. Almost one-fifth of them were 
allowed, each, four thousand four hundred and forty 
pesos of gold, and one hundred and eighty marks of 
silver, half of the compensation of the troopers. The 
remainder received one-fourth part less ; though here 
again there were exceptions, and some were obliged to 
content themselves with a much smaller share of the 

6 The particulars of the distribution are given in the Acta de Repar- 
ticion del Rescate, an instrument drawn up and signed by the royal 
notary. The document, which is therefore of unquestionable author- 
ity, is among the MSS. selected for me from the collection of Munoz. 
Peru. — Vol. I. — u 39 


The new church of San Francisco, the first Christian 
temple in Peru, was endowed with two thousand two 
hundred and twenty pesos of gold. The amount 
assigned to Almagro's company was not excessive, if 
it was not more than twenty thousand pesos ;^ and 
that reserved for the colonists of San Miguel, which 
amounted only to fifteen thousand pesos, was unac- 
countably small. ^ There were among them certain 
soldiers who, at an early period of the expedition, as 
the reader may remember, abandoned the march and 
returned to San Miguel. These, certainly, had little 
claim to be remembered in the division of booty. But 
the greater part of the colony consisted of invalids, 
men whose health had been broken by their previous 
hardships, but who still, with a stout and willing heart, 
did good service in their military post on the sea-coast. 
On what grounds they had forfeited their claims to a 
more am))le remuneration it is not easy to explain. 

Nothing is said, in the j)artition, of Almagro him- 
self, who, by the terms of the original contract, might 
claim an equal share of the spoil with his associate. 
As little notice is taken of Luque, the remaining 
partner. Luque himself was, indeed, no longer to be 

1 " Se diese d la gente que vino con el Capitan Diego de Almagro 
para ayuda a pagar sus deudas y fletes y suplir algunas necesidades 
quetraian, veinte mil pesos." (Acta de Reparticion del Rescate, MS.) 
Herrcra says that 100,000 /«cix were paid to Almagro's men. (Hist, 
general, dec. 5, lib. 2, cap. 3.) But it is not so set down in the in- 

' " En treinta personas que quedaron en la ciudad de san Miguel 
de Piura dolientes y otros que no vinieron ni se hallaron en la prision 
de Atagualpa y toma del oro porque algunos sou pobres y otros tie- 
nen necesidad senalaba 15,000 p' de oro para los repartir S. Sefioria 
entre las dic.has personas." Ibid., MS. 



benefited by worldly treasure. He had died a short 
time before Ahnagro's departure from Panama;' too 
soon to learn the full success of the enterprise, which, 
but for his exertions, must have failed ; too soon to 
become acquainted with the achievements and the 
crimes of Pizarro. But the Licentiate Espinosa, whom 
he represented, and who, it appears, had advanced 
the funds for the expedition, was still living at St. 
Domingo, and Luque's pretensions were explicitly 
transferred to him. Yet it is unsafe to pronounce, 
at this distance of time, on the authority of mere 
negative testimony ; and it must be admitted to form 
a strong presumption in favor of Pizarro's general 
equity in the distribution, that no complaint of it 
has reached us from any of the parties present, nor 
from contemporary chroniclers." 

The division of the ransom being completed by the 
Spaniards, there seemed to be no further obstacle to 
their resuming active operations and commencing the 
march to Cuzco. But what was to be done with Ata- 
huallpa ? In the determination of this question, what- 
ever was expedient was just." To liberate him would 

» Montesinos, Annales, MS., ano 1533. 

»° The " Spanish Captain," several times cited, who tells us he was 
one of the men appointed to guard the treasure, does indeed complain 
that a large quantity of gold vases and other articles remained undi- 
vided, a palpable injustice, he thinks, to the honest Conquerors, who 
had earned all by their hardships. (Rel. d'un Capitano Spag^., ap. 
Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 378, 379.) The writer, throughout his Rela- 
tion, shows a full measure of the coarse and covetous spirit which 
marked the adventurers of Peru. 

" " Y esto tenia por justo, pues era provechoso." It is the senti- 
ment imputed to Pizarro by Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 3, 
cap. 4. 


be to set at large the very man who might prove their 
most dangerous enemy. — one whose birth and royal 
station would rally round him the whole nation, place 
all the machinery of government at his control, and all 
its resources, — one, in short, whose bare word might 
concentrate all the energies of his people against the 
Spaniards, and thus delay for a long period, if not 
wholly defeat, the conquest of the country. Yet to 
hold him in captivity was attended with scarcely less 
difficulty ; since to guard so important a prize would 
require such a division of their force as must greatly 
cripple its strength, and how could they expect, by 
any vigilance, to secure their prisoner against rescue in 
the perilous passes of the mountains ? 

The Inca himself now loudly demanded his freedom. 
The proposed amount of the ransom had, indeed, not 
been fully paid. It may be doubted whether it ever 
would have been, considering the embarrassments 
thrown in the way by the guardians of the temples, 
who seemed disposed to secrete the treasures, rather 
than despoil these sacred depositories to satisfy the 
cupidity of the strangers. It was unlucky, too, for the 
Indian monarch that much of the gold, and that of the 
best quality, consisted of flat plates or tiles, which, 
however valuable, lay in a compact form that did little 
towards swelling the heap. But an immense amount 
had been already realized, and it would have been a 
still greater one, the Inca might allege, but for the 
impatience of the Spaniards. At all events, it was a 
magnificent ransom, such as was never paid by prince 
or potentate before. 

These considerations Atahuallpa urged on several of 


the cavaliers, and especially on Hernando de Soto, who 
was on terms of more familiarity with him than Pizarro. 
De Soto reported Atahuallpa's demands to his leader; 
but the latter evaded a direct reply. He did not 
disclose the dark purposes over which his mind was 
brooding." Not long afterwards he caused the notary 
to prepare an instrument in which he fully acquitted 
the Inca of further obligation in respect to the ransom. 
This he commanded to be publicly proclaimed in the 
camp, while at the same time he openly declared that 
the safety of the Spaniards required that the Inca 
should be detained in confinement until they were 
strengthened by additional reinforcements. '^ 

Meanwhile the old rumors of a meditated attack by 
the natives began to be current among the soldiers. 
They were repeated from one to another, gaining 
something by every repetition. An immense army, 
it was reported, was mustering at Quito, the land of 
Atahuallpa's birth, and thirty thousand Caribs were on 
their way to support it.'* The Caribs were distributed 

'2 " I como no ahondaban los designios que tenia le replicaban ; 
pero el respondia, que iba mirando en ello." Herrera, Hist, general, 
dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 4. 

^3 " Fatta quella fusione, il Governatore fece vn atto innanzi al no- 
taro nel quale liberaua il Cacique Atabalipa et I'absolueua della pro- 
messa et parola che haueua data a gli Spagnuoli che lo presero della 
casa d'oro c'haueua lor cocessa, il quale fece publicar publicamete a 
suon di trombe nella piazza di quella cittk di Caxamalca." (Pedro 
Rancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 399.) The authority is un- 
impeachable, — for any fact, at least, that makes against the Conquer- 
ors, — since the Relatione was by one of Pizarro's own secretaries, and 
was authorized under the hands of the general and his great officers. 

•4 " De la gente Natural de Quito vienen docientos mil Hombres 
de Guerra, i treinta mil Caribes, que comen Came Humana." Xerez, 


by the early Spaniards rather indiscriminately over the 
different parts of America, being invested with pecu- 
liar horrors as a race of cannibals. 

It was not easy to trace the origin of these rumors. 
There was in the camp a considerable nurnber of In- 
dians, who belonged to the party of Huascar, and who 
were, of course, hostile to Atahuallpa. But his worst 
enemy was Felipillo, the interpreter from Tumbez, 
already mentioned in these pages. This youth had 
conceived a passion for, or, as some say, had been 
detected in an intrigue with, one of the royal concu- 
bines. '^ The circumstance had reached the ears of 
Atahuallpa, who felt himself deeply outraged by it. 
"That such an insult should have been offered by so 
base a person was an indignity," he said, "more diffi- 
cult to bear than his imprisonment;"'* and he told 
Pizarro "that, by the Peruvian law, it could be expi- 
ated, not by the criminal's own death alone, but by 
that of his whole family and kindred. "'' But Feli- 
pillo was too important to the Spaniards to be dealt 
with so summarily; nor did they probably attach such 

Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 233. — See also Pedro Sancho, 
Rel., ap. Ramusio, ubi supra. 

«s '• Pues estando asi atravesose un demonio de una lengua que se 
dezia ffelipillo uno de los muchachos que el marquez avia Uevado d 
Espafia que al presente hera lengua y andava enamorado de una 
nuger de Atabalipa." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Tlie 
amour and the malice of Felipillo, which, Quintana seems to think, 
r.-5t chiefly on Garcilasso"s authority (see E paRoles celebres. torn. ii. 
p. 210, nota), are stated verj' e.xplicitly by Zaraie, Naharro, Gomara, 
Balboa, all contemporaneo'us, though not, like Pedro Pizarro, person- 
ally present in the army. 

«* " Diciendo que sentia mas aquel desacato, que su prision." Za- 
rate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7. 

•7 Ibid., loc. cit. 


consequence to an offence which, if report be true, 
they had countenanced by their own example.'' Fe- 
lipillo, however, soon learned the state of the Inca's 
feelings towards himself, and from that moment he 
regarded him with deadly hatred. Unfortunately, his 
malignant temper found ready means for its indulgence. 
The rumors of a rising among the natives pointed to 
Atahuallpa as the author of it. Challcuchima was ex- 
amined on the subject, but avowed his entire ignorance 
of any such design, which he pronounced a malicious 
slander. Pizarro next laid the matter before the Inca 
himself, repeating to him the stories in circulation, 
with the air of one who believed them. "What treason 
is this," said the general, "that you have meditated 
against me, — me, who have ever treated you with 
honor, confiding in your words, as in those of a 
brother?" "You jest," replied the Inca, who per- 
haps did not feel the weight of this confidence; "you 
are always jesting with me. How could I or my people 
think of conspiring against men so valiant as the Span- 
iards? Do not jest with me thus, I beseech you."'' 
"This," continues Pizarro's secretary, "he said in 
the most composed and natural manner, smiling all 
the while to dissemble his falsehood, so that we were 
all amazed to find such cunning in a barbarian." ~ 

" " E le habian tornado sus mugeres e repartidolas en su presencia 
e usaban de ellas de sus adulterios." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., 
Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22. 

'9 " Burlaste conmigo? siempre me hablas cosas de burlas? C^ue 
parte soinos Yo, i toda mi Gente, para enojar k tan valientes Hombres 
como vosotros? No me digas esas burlas." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, 
ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 234. 

=0 " De que !os Espanoles que se las han oido, estan espantados de 
v^r er. vn Hombre Barbaro tanta prudencia." Ibid., loc. cit. 


But it was not with cunning, but with the conscious- 
ness of innocence, as the event afterwards proved, that 
Atahuallpa thus spoke to Pizarro. He readily dis- 
cerned, however, the causes, perhaps the consequences, 
of the accusation. He saw a dark gulf opening be- 
neath his feet; and he was surrounded by strangers, 
on none of whom he could lean for counsel or protec- 
tion. The life of the captive monarch is usually short; 
and Atahuallpa might have learned the truth of this, 
when he thought of Huascar. Bitterly did he now 
lament the absence of Hernando Pizarro, for, strange 
as it may seem, the haughty spirit of this cavalier had 
been touched by the condition of the royal prisoner, 
and he had treated him with a deference which won 
for him the peculiar regard and confidence of the In- 
dian. Yet the latter lost no time in endeavoring to 
efface the general's suspicions and to establish his own 
innocence. "Am I not," said he to Pizarro, "a poor 
captive in your hands? How could I harbor the de- 
signs you impute to me, when I should be the first 
victim of the outbreak? And you little know my 
people, if you think that such a fnovement would be 
made without my orders; when the very birds in my 
dominions," said he, with somewhat of an hyperbole, 
"would scarcely venture to fly contrary to my will."" 

But these protestations of innocence had little effect 
on the troops; among whom the story of a general 
rising of the natives continued to gain credit every 
hour. A large force, it was said, was already gathered 
at Huamachuco, not a hundred miles from the camp, 

» " Pues si Yo no lo quiero, ni las Aves bolarkn en mi Tierra," 
Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7. 


and their assault might be hourly expected. The treas- 
ure which the Spaniards had acquired afforded a tempt- 
ing prize, and their own alarm was increased by the 
apprehension of losing it. The patrols were doubled. 
The horses were kept saddled and bridled. The sol- 
diers slept on their arms; Pizarro went the rounds 
regularly to see that every sentinel was on his post. 
The little army, in short, was in a state of preparation 
for instant attack. 

Men suffering from fear are not likely to be too 
scrupulous as to the means of removing the cause of 
it. Murmurs, mingled with gloomy menaces, were 
now heard against the Inca, the author of these machi- 
nations. Many began to demand his life, as necessary 
to the safety of the army. Among these the most 
vehement were Almagro and his followers. They had 
not witnessed the seizure of Atahuallpa. They had no 
sympathy with him in his fallen state. They regarded 
him only as an encumbrance, and their desire now was 
to push their fortunes in the country, since they had 
got so little of the gold of Caxamalca. They were 
supported by Riquelme, the treasur-er, and by the rest 
of the royal officers. These men had been left at San 
Miguel by Pizarro, who did not care to have such offi- 
cial spies on his movements. But they had come to 
the camp with Almagro, and they loudly demanded 
the Inca's death, as indispensable to the tranquillity 
of the country and the interests of the crown." 

To these dark suggestions Pizarro turned — or seemed 

» Pedro Pizairo, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Relacion del primer D©. 
scub., MS. — Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 400.—* 
These cavaliers were all present in the camp. 


to turn — an unwilling ear, showing visible reluctance 
to proceed to extreme measures with his prisoner.'' 
There were some few,, and among others Hernando de 
Soto, who supported him in these views, and who re- 
garded such measures as not at all justified by the evi- 
dence of Atahuallpa's guilt. In this state of things, 
the Spanish commander determined to send a small de- 
tachment to Huamachuco, to reconnoitre the country 
and ascertain what ground there was for the rumors of 
an insurrection. De Soto was placed at the head of 
the expedition, which, as the distance was not great, 
would occupy but a few days. 

After that cavalier's departure, the agitation among 
the soldiers, instead of diminishing, increased to such 
a degree that Pizarro, unable to resist their importuni- 
ties, consented to bring Atahuallpa to instant trial. It 
was but decent, and certainly safer, to have the forms 
of a trial. A court was organized, over which the 
two captains, Pizarro and Almagro, were to preside as 
judges. An attorney-general was named to prosecute 
for the crown, and counsel was assigned to the prisoner. 

The charges preferred against the Inca, drawn up in 
the form of interrogatories, were twelve in number. 
The most important were, that he had usurped the 
crown and assassinated his brother Huascar ; that he 
had squandered the public revenues since the conquest 
of the country by the Spaniards, and lavished them on 
his kindred and his minions; that he was guilty of 

^"Aunque contra voluntad del dicho Gobemador, que nunca 
estubo bien en ello.'" — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — So also 
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Pad. Sancho, Rel., ap. R» 
musio, ubi supra. 


idolatry, and of adulterous practices, indulging openly 
in a plurality of wives ; finally, that he had attempted 
to excite an insurrection against the Spaniards.'* 

These charges, most of which had reference to 
national usages, or to the personal relations of the 
Inca, over which the Spanish conquerors had clearly 
no jurisdiction, are so absurd that they might well pro- 
voke a smile, did they not excite a deeper feeling. 
The last of the charges was the only one of moment 
in such a trial ; and the weakness of this may be in- 
ferred from the care taken to bolster it up with the 
others. The mere specification of the articles must 
have been sufficient to show that the doom of the Inca 
was already sealed. 

A number of Indian witnesses were examined, and 
their testimony, filtrated through the interpretation of 
Felipillo, received, it is said, when necessary, a very 
different coloring from that of the original. The ex- 
amination was soon ended, and "a warm discussion," 

=4 The specification of the charges against the Inca is given by 
Garcilasso de la Vega. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. I, cap. 37.) One 
could have wished to find them specified by some of the actors in the 
tragedy. But Garcilasso had access to the best sources of informa- 
tion, and where there was no motive for falsehood, as in the present 
instance, his word may probably be taken. — The fact of a process 
being formally instituted against the Indian monarch is explicitly 
recognized by several contemporary writers, by Gomara, Oviedo, and 
Pedro Sancho. Oviedo characterizes the indictment as " a badly con- 
trived and worse written document, devised by a factious and unprin- 
cipled priest, a clumsy notary without conscience, and others of the 
like stamp, who were all concerned in this villany." (Hist, de las 
Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.) Most authorities agree in the two 
principal charges, — the assassination of Huascar, and the conspiracy 
against the Spaniards. 


as we are assured by one of Pizarro's own secretaries, 
"took place in respect to the probable good or evil 
that would result from the death of Atahuallpa." »« It 
was a question of expediency. He was found guilty, 
— whether of all the crimes alleged we are not informed, 
— and he was sentenced to be burnt alive in the great 
square of Caxamalca. The sentence was to be carried 
into execution that very night. They were not even 
to wait for the return of De Soto, when the informa- 
tion he would bring would go far to establish the truth 
or the falsehood of the reports respecting the insur- 
rection of the natives. It was desirable to obtain the 
countenance of Father Valverde to these proceedings, 
and a copy of the judgment was submitted to the friar 
for his signature, which he gave without hesitation, de- 
claring that, "in his opinion, the Inca, at all events, 
deserved death." ** 

Yet there were some few in that martial conclave 
who resisted these high-handed measures. They con- 
sidered them as a poor requital of all the favors be- 
stowed on them by the Inca, who hitherto had received 
at their hands nothing but wrong. They objected to 

»s " Doppo I'cssersi molto disputato, et ragionafo del danno ct vtile 
che saria potufo auucnire per il viuere o morire di Atabalipa, fu riso- 
luto che si facesse giustitia di lui." (Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, 
torn. iii. fol. 400.) It is the language of a writer who inay be taken 
as the mouthpiece of Pizarro himself. According to him, the conclave 
which agit.atcd this " question of expediency" consisted of the " officers 
of the crown and those of the army, a certain doctor learned in the 
law, that chanced to be with them, and the reverend Failier Vicente 
dc Valverde." 

»* " Respondi6, que firmaria, que era bastante para que el Inga 
fuese condenado d muerte, porque aun en lo exterior quisieron jiisU« 
ficar su intcnto." Herrera, Hist, general, dec. S, lib. 3, cap. 4. 



the evidence as wholly insufficient ; and they denied 
the authority of such a tribunal to sit in judgment on 
a sovereign prince in the heart of his own dominions. 
If he were to be tried, he should be sent to Spain, and 
his cause brought before the emperor, who alone had 
power to determine it. 

But the great majority — and they were ten to one — • 
overruled these objections, by declaring there was no 
doubt of Atahuallpa's guilt, and they were willing to 
assume the responsibility of his punishment. A full 
account of the proceedings would be sent to Castile, 
and the emperor should be informed who were the 
loyal servants of the crown, and who were its enemies. 
The dispute ran so high that for a time it menaced an 
open and violent rupture ; till, at length, convinced 
that resistance was fruitless, the weaker party, silenced, 
but not satisfied, contented themselves with entering a 
written protest against these proceedings, which would 
leave an indelible stain on the names of all concerned 
in them.*7 

When the sentence was communicated to the Inca, 
he was greatly overcome by it. He had, indeed, for ^ 
some time, looked to such an issue as probable, and 
had been heard to intimate as much to those about him. 
But the probability of such an event is very different 

»7 Garcilasso has preserved the names of some of those who so 
courageously, though ineffectually, resisted the popular cry for the 
luca's blood. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. i, cap. 37.) They were doubt- 
less correct in denying the right of such a tribunal to sit in judgment 
on an independent prince like the Inca of Peru, but not so correct in 
supposing that their master the emperor had a better right. Vattel 
(book ii. ch. 4) especially animadverts on this pretended trial of Ata- 
huallpa, as a manifest outrage on the law of nations. 
Peru. — Vol. I. 40 


from its certainty, — and that, too, so sudden and 
speedy. For a moment, the overwhelming conviction 
of it unmanned him, and he exclaimed, with tears in 
his eyes, "What have I done, or my children, that I 
should meet such a fate ? And from your hands, too," 
said he, addressing Pizarro ; " you, who have met with 
friendship and kindness from my people, with whom I 
have shared my treasures, who have received nothing 
but benefits from my hands!" In the most piteous 
tones, he then implored that his life might be spared, 
promising any guarantee that might be required for 
the safety of every Spaniard in the army, — promising 
double the ransom he had already paid, if time were 
only given him to obtain it."^ 

An eye-witness assures us that Pizarro was visibly 
affected, as he turned away from the Inca, to whose 
appeal he had no power to listen in opposition to the 
voice of the army and to his own sense of what w^as 
due to the security of the country.'' Atahuallpa, find- 
ing he had no power to turn his Conqueror from his 
purpose, recovered his habitual self-possession, and 
from that moment submitted himself to his fate with 
the courage of an Indian warrior. 

The doom of the Inca was proclaimed by sound of 
trumpet in the great square of Caxamalca ; and, two 
hours after sunset, the Spanish soldiery assembled by 
torch -light in the plaza to witness the execution of 

^ Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Henera, Hist, general, 
dec. s, lib. 3, cap. 4. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, cap. 7. 

=9 " I myself," says Pedro Pizarro, "saw the general \s'eep." "Yo 
vide llorar al marques de pcsar por no podelle dar la vida porque 
cierto temio los requirimientos y el rriezgo que avia en la tierra si s« 
soltava." Descub. y Conq., MS. 



the sentence. It was on the twenty-ninth of August, 
1533. Atahuallpa was led out chained hand and foot, 
— for he had been kept in irons ever since the great 
excitement had prevailed in the army respecting an 
assault. Father Vicente de Valverde was at his side, 
striving to administer consolation, and, if possible, to 
persuade him at this last hour to abjure his superstition 
and embrace the religion of his Conquerors. He was 
willing to save the soul of his victim from the terrible 
expiation in the next world to which he had so cheer- 
fully consigned his mortal part in this. 

During Atahuallpa's confinement, the friar had re- 
peatedly expounded to him the Christian doctrines, 
and the Indian monarch discovered much acuteness in 
apprehending the discourse of his teacher. But it had 
not carried conviction to his mind, and, though he 
listened with patience, he had shown no disposition 
to renounce the faith of his fathers. The Dominican 
made a last appeal to him in this solemn hour ; and, 
when Atahuallpa was bound to the stake, with the 
fagots that were to kindle his funeral pile lying around 
him, Valverde, holding up the cross, besought him to 
embrace it and be baptized, promising that, by so 
doing, the painful death to which he had been sen- 
tenced should be commuted for the milder form of the 
garrote, — a mode of punishment by strangulation, used 
for criminals in Spain. ^° 

3° Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 234. — Pedro Pi- 
zarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. — Ped. 
Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 400. — The ^-arroie is a mode 
of execution by means of a noose drawn round the criminal's neck, 
to the back part of which a stick is attached. By twisting this stick 


The unhappy monarch asked if this were really so, 
and, on its being confirmed by Pizarro, he consented 
to abjure his own religion and receive baptism. The 
ceremony was performed by Father Valverde, and the 
new convert received the name of Juan de Atahuallpa, 
— the name of Juan being conferred in honor of John 
the Baptist, on whose day the event took place. 3' 

Atahuallpa expressed a desire that his remains might 
be transported to Quito, the place of his birth, to be 
preserved with those of his maternal ancestors. Then, 
turning to Pizarro, as a last request, he implored him 
to take compassion on his young children and receive 
them under his protection. Was there no other one in 
that dark company who stood grimly around him, to 
whom he could look for the protection of his offspring? 
Perhaps he thought there was no other so competent to 
afford it, and that the wishes so solemnly expressed in 
that hour might meet with respect even from his Con- 
queror. Then, recovering his stoical bearing, which 
for a moment had been shaken, he submitted himself 
calmly to his fate, — while the Spaniards, gathering 
around, muttered their credos for the salvation of his 
soul ! ^* Thus by the death of a vile malefactor 
perished the last of the Incas ! 

the noose is tightened and suffocation is produced. This was the 
mode, probably, of Atahuallpa's execution. In Spain, instead of the 
cord, an iron collar is substituted, which, by means of a screw, is 
compressed round the throat of the sufferer. 

3' Velasco, Hist, de Quito, torn. i. p. 372. 

32 " Ma quando se lo vidde appressare per douer esser morto, dissc 
che raccomandaua al Gouematore i suoi piccioli figliuoli che volesse 
tenersegli appresso, & con queste ultime parole, & diccndo per I'ani* 
ma sua li Spagnuoli che erano all' intorno il Credo, fu subito afifogato." 



I have already spoken of the person and the quali- 
ties of Atahuallpa. He had a handsome countenance, 
though with an expression somewhat too fierce to be 
pleasing. His frame was muscular and well-propor- 
tioned ; his air commanding ; and his deportment in 
the Spanish quarters had a degree of refinement, the 
more interesting that it was touched with melancholy. 
He is accused of having been cruel in his wars and 
bloody in his revenge. ^^ It may be true, but the pencil 
of an enemy would be likely to overcharge the shadows 
of the portrait. He is allowed to have been bold, 

Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 399. — Xerez, Conq. del 
Peru, ap. Barcia, torn. iii. p. 234. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., 
MS. — Naharro, Relacion sumaria, MS. — Conq. i Pob. del Pirn, MS. 
— Relacion del primer Descub., MS. — Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 2, 
cap. 7. — The death of Atahuallpa has many point.s of resemblance 
to that of Caupolican, the great Araucanian chief, as described in 
the historical epic of Ercilla. Both embraced the religion of their 
conquerors at the stake, though Caupolican was so far less fortunate 
than the Peruvian monarch that his conversion did not save him from 
the tortures of a most agonizing death. He was impaled and shot 
with arrows. The spirited verses reflect so faithfully the character of 
these early adventurers, in which the fanaticism of the Crusader was 
mingled with the cruelty of the conqueror, and they are so germane 
to the present subject, that I would willingly quote the passage were 
it not too long. See La Araucana, Parte 2, canto 24. 

33 " Thus he paid the penalty of his errors and cruelties," says Xerez, 
" for he was the greatest butcher, as all agree, that the world ever saw; 
making nothing of razing a whole town to the ground for the most 
trifling offence, and massacring a thousand persons for the fault of 
ons!" (Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. iii. p. 234.) Xerez was the 
private secretary of Pizarro. Sancho, who, on the departure of Xerez 
for Spain, succeeded him in the same office, pays a more decent tribute 
to the memory of the Inca, who, he trusts, " is received into glory, 
since he died penitent for his sins, and in the true faith of a Chrisaan." 
Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. iii. fol. 399. 


high-minded, and liberaL^^ All agree that he showed 
singular penetration and quickness of perception. His 
exploits as a warrior had placed his valor beyond dis- 
pute. The best homage to it is the reluctance shown 
by the Spaniards to restore him to freedom. They 
dreaded him as an enemy, and they had done him too 
many wrongs to think that he could be their friend. 
Yet his conduct towards them from the first had been 
most friendly ; and they repaid it with imprisonment, 
robbery, and death. 

The body of the Inca remained on the place of 
execution through the night. The following morning 
it was removed to the church of San Francisco, where 
liis funeral obsequies were performed with great solem- 
nity. Pizarro and the principal cavaliers went into 
mourning, and the troops listened with devout atten- 
tion to the service of the dead from the lips of Father 
Valverde.35 The ceremony was interrupted by the 
sound of loud cries and wailing, as of many voices at 
the doors of the church. These were suddenly thrown 
open, and a number of Indian women, the wives and 
sisters of the deceased, rushing up the great aisle, 
surrounded the corpse. This was not the way, they 
cried, to celebrate the funeral rites of an Inca; and 
they declared their intention to sacrifice themselves on 
his tomb and bear him company to the land of spirits. 

34 " El hera muy regalado, y muy Sciior," says Pedro Pizarro. (De- 
scub. y Conq., MS.) " Mui dispuesto, sabio, animoso, franco," says 
Gomara. (Hist, de las Ind., cap. ii8.) 

35 The secretary Sancho seems to think that the Peruvians must 
have regarded these funeral honors as an ample compensation to Ata 
huallpa for any wrongs he may have sustained, since they at once 
raised him to a level with the Spaniards ! Ibid., loc. cit. 



riit audience, outraged by this frantic behavior, told 
the intruders that Atahuallpa had died in the faith of a 
Christian, and that the God of the Christians abhorred 
such sacrifices. They then caused the women to be 
excluded from the church, and several, retiring to their 
own quarters, laid violent hands on themselves, in the 
vain hope of accompanying their beloved lord to the 
bright mansions of the Sun.^'^ 

Atahuallpa' s remains, notwithstanding his request, 
were laid in the cemetery of San Francisco. ^^ But 
from thence, as is reported, after the Spaniards left 
Caxamalca, they were secretly removed, and carried, 
as he had desired, to Quito. The colonists of a later 
time supposed that some treasures might have been 
buried with the body. But, on excavating the ground, 
neither treasure nor remains were to be discovered. ^^ 

A day or two after these tragic events, Hernando 
de Soto returned from his excursion. Great was his 
astonishment and indignation at learning what had 

36 Relacion del primer Descub., MS. See Appendix No. 10, where 
I have cited in the original several of the contemporar)'- notices of Ata- 
huallpa's execution, which being in manuscript are not very accessible, 
even to Spaniards. 

37 " Oi dicen los indios que est£ su sepulcro junto d una Cruz de 
Piedra Blanca que esta en el Cementerio del Convento de S" Fran- 
cisco." Montesinos, Annales, MS., aiio 1533. 

38 Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22. — Accord- 
ing to Stevenson, " In the chapel belonging to the common gaol, which 
was formerly part of the palace, the altar stands on the stone on which 
Atahuallpa was placed by the Spaniards and strangled, and undei 
which he was buried." (Residence in South America, vol. ii. p. 163.) 
Montesinos, who wrote more than a centur)' after the Conquest, tells 
us that "spots of blood were still visible on a broad flagstone, in the 
prison of Caxamalca, on which Atahuallpa was beheaded." (Annales, 
MS., ano 1533.) — Igfnorance and credulity could scarcely go further. 


been done in his absence. He sought out Pizarro at 
once, and found him, says the chronicler, "with a 
great felt hat, by way of mourning, slouched over his 
eyes," and in his dress and demeanor exhibiting all 
the show of sorrow.39 "You have acted rashly," said 
De Soto to him bluntly ; " Atahuallpa has been basely 
slandered. There was no enemy at Huamachuco; no 
rising among the natives. I have met with nothing on 
the road but demonstrations of good will, and all is 
quiet. If it was necessary to bring the Inca to trial, he 
should have been taken to Castile and judged by the 
emperor. I would have pledged myself to see him 
safe on board the vessel."^ Pizarro confessed that 
he had been precipitate, and said that he had been de- 
ceived by Riquelme, Valverde, and the others. These 
charges soon reached the ears of the treasurer and the 
Dominican, who, in their turn, exculpated themselves, 
and upbraided Pizarro to his face, as the only one 
responsible for the deed. The dispute ran high ; and 
the parties were heard by the by-standers to give one 
another the lie ! *' This vulgar squabble among the 

39 " Hallaronle monstrando mucho sentimiento con un gran som- 
brero de fieltro puesto en la cabeza por luto e muy calado sobre los 
ojos." Oviedo, Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22. 

*» Ibid., MS., ubi supra. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — 
See Appendix No. 10. 

♦» This remarkable account is given by Oviedo, not in the body of 
his narrative, but in one of those supplementary chapters which he 
makes the vehicle of the most miscellaneous, yet oftentimes important, 
gossip, respecting the great transactions of his historj'. As he knew 
familiarly the leaders in these transactions, the testimony which he col- 
lected, somewhat at random, is of high authority. The reader will 
find Oviedo's account of the Inca's death extracted, in the original, 
among the other notices of this catastrophe, in Appendix No. 10. 



leaders, so soon after the event, is the best commentary 
on the iniquity of their own proceedings and the inno- 
cence of the Inca. 

The treatment of Atahuallpa, from first to last, forms 
undoubtedly one of the darkest chapters in Spanish co- 
lonial history. There may have been massacres per- 
petrated on a more extended scale, and executions 
accompanied with a greater refinement of cruelty. But 
the blood-stained annals of the Conquest afford no 
such example of cold-hearted and systematic persecu- 
tion, not of an enemy, but of one whose whole deport- 
ment had been that of a friend and a benefactor. 

From the hour that Pizarro and his followers had 
entered within the sphere of Atahuallpa's influence, 
the hand of friendship had been extended to them by 
the natives. Their first act, on crossing the mountains, 
was to kidnap the monarch and massacre his people. 
The seizure of his person might be vindicated, by 
those who considered the end as justifying the means, 
on the ground that it was indispensable to secure the 
triumphs of the Cross. But no such apology can be 
urged for the massacre of the unarmed and helpless 
population, — as wanton as it was wicked. 

The long confinement of the Inca had been used by 
the Conquerors to wring from him his treasures with 
the hard gripe of avarice. During the whole of this 
dismal period he had conducted himself with singular 
generosity and good faith. He had opened a free 
passage to the Spaniards through every part of his em- 
pire, and had furnished every facility for the execution 
of their plans. When these were accomplished, and 
he remained an encumbrance on their hands, notwith- 


Standing their engagement, expressed or implied, to 
release him, — and Pizarro, as we have seen, by a 
formal act acquitted his captive of any further obliga- 
tion on the score of the ransom, — he was arraigned 
before a mock tribunal, and, under pretences equally 
false and frivolous, was condemned to an excruciating 
death. From first to last, the policy of the Spanish 
conquerors towards their unhappy victim is stamped 
with barbarity and fraud. 

It is not easy to acquit Pizarro of being in a great 
degree responsible for this policy. His partisans have 
labored to show that it was forced on him by the ne- 
cessity of the case, and that in the death of the Inca, 
especially, he yielded reluctantly to the importunities 
of others.** But, weak as is this apology, the historian 
who has the means of comparing the various testimony 
of the period will come to a different conclusion. To 
him it will appear that Pizarro had probably long felt 
the removal of Atahuallpa to be essential to the success 
of his enterprise. He foresaw the odium that would 
be incurred by the death of his royal captive without 
sufficient grounds; while he labored to establish these, 
he still shrank from the responsibility of the deed, and 
preferred to perpetrate it in obedience to the sugges- 
tions of others, rather than his own. Like many an 

♦= "Contra su voluntad sentencio d muerte d Atabalipa." (Pedro 
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS.) "Contra voluntad del dicho Gober- 
nador." (Relacion del primer Descub., MS.) " Ancora che molto 
li dispiacesse di venir a questo atto." (Ped. Pancho, Rel., ap. Ra- 
musio, torn. iii. fol. 399.) Even Oviedo seems willing to admit it pos- 
sible that Pizarro may have been somewhat deceived by others: " Que 
tainbien se puede creer que era engauado." Hist, de las Iniias, MS., 
Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22. 



unprincipled politician, he wished to reap the benefit 
of a bad act and let others bear the blame of it. 

Almagro and his followers are reported by Pizarro's 
secretaries to have first insisted on the Inca's death. 
They were loudly supported by the treasurer and the 
royal officers, who considered it as indispensable to 
the interests of the crown; and, finally, the rumors of 
a conspiracy raised the same cry among the soldiers, 
and Pizarro, with all his tenderness for his prisoner, 
could not refuse to bring him to trial. The form of a 
trial was necessary to give an appearance of fairness to 
the proceedings. That it was only form is evident 
from the indecent haste with which it was conducted, 
— the examination of evidence, the sentence, and the 
execution being all on the same day. The multiplica- 
tion of the charges, designed to place the guilt of the 
accused on the strongest ground, had, from their very 
number, the opposite effect, proving only the determi- 
nation to convict him. If Pizarro had felt the reluc- 
tance to his conviction which he pretended, why did he 
send De Soto, Atahuallpa's best friend, away, when the 
inquiry was to be instituted? Why was the sentence 
so summarily executed, as not to afford opportunity, 
by that cavalier's return, of disproving the truth of 
the principal charge, — the only one, in fact, with 
which the Spaniards had any concern ? The solemn 
farce of mourning and deep sorrow affected by Pizarro, 
who by these honors to the dead would intimate the 
sincere regard he had entertained for the living, was 
too thin a veil to impose on the most credulous. 

It is not intended by these reflections to exculpate 
the rest of the army, and especiall)' its officers, from 


their share in the infamy of the transaction. But Pi- 
zarro, as commander of the army, was mainly respon- 
sible for its measures. For he was not a man to allow 
his own authority to be wrested from his grasp, or to 
yield timidly to the impulses of others. He did not 
even yield to his own. His whole career shows him, 
whether for good or for evil, to have acted with a cool 
and calculating policy. 

A story has been often repeated, which refers the 
motives of Pizarro's conduct, in some degree at least, 
to personal resentment. The Inca had requested one 
of the Spanish soldiers to write the name of God on 
his nail. This the monarch showed to several of his 
guards successively, and, as they read it, and each 
pronounced the same word, the sagacious mind of the 
barbarian was delighted with what seemed to him little 
short of a miracle, — to which the science of his own 
nation afforded no analogy. On showing the writing 
to Pizarro, that chief remained silent; and the Inca, 
finding he could not read, conceived a contempt for 
the commander who was even less informed than his 
soldiers. This he did not wholly conceal, and Pizarro, 
aware of the cause of it, neither forgot nor forgave it.'*^ 
The anecdote is reported not on the highest authority. 
It may be true ; but it is unnecessary to look for the 
motives of Pizarro's conduct in personal pique, when 
so many proofs are to be discerned of a dark and de- 
liberate policy. 

Yet the arts of the Spanish chieftain failed to recon- 

« The slory is to be found in Garcilasso de la Vega (Com. Real., 
Parte 2, cap. 38), and in no other writer of the period, so far as I am 


cile his countrymen to the atrocity of his proceedings. 
It is singular to observe the difference between the 
tone assumed by the first chroniclers of the transac- 
tion, while it was yet fresh, and that of those who 
wrote when the lapse of a {^-^ years had shown the 
tendency of public opinion. The first boldly avow 
the deed as demanded by expediency, if not necessity; 
while they deal in no measured terms of reproach with 
the character of their unfortunate victim."'' The latter, 
on the other hand, while they extenuate the errors of 
the Inca, and do justice to his good faith, are unre- 
served in their condemnation of the Conquerors, on 
whose conduct, they say, Heaven set the seal of its 
own reprobation, by bringing them all to an untimely 
and miserable end.^^ The sentence of contemporaries 

44 I have already noticed the lavish epithets heaped by Xerez on the 
tnca's cruelty. This account was printed in Spain, in 1534, the year 
after the execution. " The proud tyrant," says the other secretary, 
Sancho, " would have repaid the kindness and good treatment he had 
received from the governor and every one of us with the same coin 
with which he usually paid his own followers, witliout any fault on 
their part, — by putting them to death." (Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ra- 
musio, torn. iii. fol. 399.) " He deserved to die," says the old Spanish 
Conqueror before quoted, "and all the country was rejoiced that he 
was put out of the way." Rel. d'un Capitano Spagn., ap. Ramusio, 
torn. iii. fol. 377. 

43 " Las demostraciones que despues se vieron bien manifiestan lo 
mui injusta que fue, . . . puesto que todos quantos entendieron en 
ella tuvieron despues mui desastradas muertes." (Naharro, Relacion 
sumnria, MS.) Gomara uses nearly the same language. " No ai que 
reprehender ^ los que le mataron, pues el tiempo, i sus pecados los 
castigaron despues; ck todos ellos acabaron mal." (Hist, de las Ind., 
cap. 118.) Accordmg to the former writer, Felipillo paid the forfeit 
of his crimes, some time afterwards, — being hanged by Almagro on 
the expedition to Chili, — when, as "some say, he confessed having per- 
Peru, — Vol. I.— v 41 


hai been fully ratified by that of posterity;** and the 
persecution of Atahuallpa is regarded with justice as 
having left a stain, never to be effaced, on the Spanish 
arms in the New World. 

verted testimony given in favor of Atahnallpa's innocence, directly 
against that monarch." Oviedo, usually ready enough to excuse the 
• excesses of his countrymen, is unqualified in his condemnation of this 
, whole proceeding (see Appendix No. 10), which, says another con- 
temporary, " fills every one with pity who has a spark of humanity in 
his bosom." Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS. 

46 The most eminent example of this is given by Quintana in his 
memoir of Pizarro (Espanoles celebres, tom. ii.), throughout which 
the writer, rising above the mists of national prejudice, which too 
often blind the eyes of his countrymen, holds the scale of historic 
criticism with an impartial hand, and deals a full measure of reproba- 
tion to the actors in these dismal scenes. 




The Inca of Peru was its sovereign in a peculiar 
sense. He received an obedience from his vassals 
more implicit than that of any despot ; for his authority 
reached to the most secret conduct, — to the thoughts 
of the individual. He was reverenced as more than 
human.' He was not merely the head of the state, 
but the point to which all its institutions converged, 
as to a common centre, — the keystone of the political 
fabric, which must fall to pieces by its own weight 
when that was withdrawn. So it fared on the death 
of Atahuallpa.' His death not only left the throne 

» " Such was the awe in which the Inca was held," says Pedro Pizarro, 
" that it was only necessary for him to intimate his commands to that 
effect, and a Peruvian would at once jump down a precipice, hang 
himself, or put an end to his life in any way that was prescribed." 
Descub. y Conq., MS. 

« Oviedo tells us that the Inca's right name was Atabaliva, and that 
the Spaniards usually misspelt it, because they thought much more of 
getting treasure for themselves than they did of the name of the per- 
.son who owned it. (Hist, de las Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 16.) 
Nevertheless, I have preferred the authority of Garcilasso, who, a Pe- 
ruvian himself, and a near kinsman of the Inca, must be supposed to 



vacant, without any certain successor, but the manner 
of it announced to the Peruvian people that a hand 
stronger than that of their Incas had now seized the 
sceptre, and that the dynasty of the Children of the 
Sun had passed away forever. 

The natural consequences of such a conviction fol- 
lowed. The beautiful order of the ancient institutions 
was broken up, as the authority which controlled it 
was withdrawn. The Indians broke out into greater 
excesses from the uncommon restraint to which they 
had been before subjected. Villages were burnt, tem- 
ples and palaces were plundered, and the gold they 
contained was scattered or secreted. Gold and silver 
acquired an importance in the eyes of the Peruvian, 
when he saw the importance attached to them by his 
conquerors. The precious metals, which before served 
only for purposes of state or religious decoration, were 
now hoarded up and buried in caves and forests. The 
gold and silver concealed by the natives were affirmed 
greatly to exceed in quantity that which fell into the 
hands of the Spaniards. ^ The remote provinces now 
shook off their allegiance to the Incas. Their great 
captains, at the head of distant armies, set up for 

have been well informed. His countr>'men, he says, pretended that 
the cocks imported into Peru by the Spaniards, when they crowed, 
uttered the name of Atahuallpa; "and I and the other Indian boys," 
adds the historian, "when we were at school, used to mimic them " 
Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 9, cap. 23. 

3 " That which the Inca gave the Spaniards, said some of the Indian 
nobles to Benalcazar. the conqueror of Quito, was but as a kernel of 
corn, compared with the heap before him." (Oviedo, Hist, de lai 
Indias, MS., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 22.) See also Pedro Pizarro, Dcscub. 
y Conq., MS. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 


themselves. Ruminavi, a commander on the borders 
of Quito, sought to detach that kingdom from the 
Peruvian empire and to reassert its ancient independ- 
ence. The country, in short, was in that state in 
which old things are passing away and the new order 
of things has not yet been established. It was in a 
state of revolution. 

The authors of the revolution, Pizarro and his fol- 
lowers, remained meanwhile at Caxamalca. But the 
first step of the Spanish commander was to name a 
successor to Atahuallpa. It would be easy to govern 
under the venerated authority to which the homage of 
the Indians had been, so long paid ; and it was not 
difficult to find a successor. The true heir to the 
crown was a second son of Huayna Capac, named 
Manco, a legitimate brother of the unfortunate Huas- 
car. But Pizarro had too little knowledge of the 
dispositions of this prince ; and he made no scruple to 
prefer a brother of Atahuallpa and to present him to 
the Indian nobles as their future Inca. We know 
nothing of the character of the young Toparca, who 
probably resigned hiinself without reluctance to a 
destiny which, however humiliating in some points of 
view, was more exalted than he could have hoped to 
obtain in the regular course of events. The ceremo- 
nies attending a Peruvian coronation were observed, 
as well as time would allow ; the brows of the young 
Inca were encircled with the imperial borla by the 
hands of his conqueror, and he received the homage 
of his Indian vassals. They were the less reluctant to 
pay it, as most of those in the camp belonged to the 
faction of Quito. 



All thoughts were now eagerly turned towards CuzcO; 
of which the most glowing accounts were circulated 
among the soldiers, and whose temples and royal 
palaces were represented as blazing with gold and 
silver. With imaginations thus excited, Pizarro and 
his entire company, amounting to almost five hundred 
men, of whom nearly a third, probably, were cavalry, 
took their departure early in September from Caxa- 
raalca, — a place ever memorable as the theatre of some 
of the most strange and sanguinary scenes recorded in 
history. All set forward in high spirits, — the soldiers 
of Pizarro from the expectation of doubling their 
present riches, and Almagro's followers from the pros- 
pect of sharing equally in the spoil with " the first 
conquerors."^ The young Inca and the old chief 
Challcuchima accompanied the march in their litters, 
attended by a numerous retinue of vassals, and moving 
in as mucii state and ceremony as if in the possession 
of real power, s 

Their course lay along the great road of the Incas, 
which stretched across the elevated regions of the 
Cordilleras, all the way to Cuzco. It was of nearly 
a uniform breadth, though constructed with different 
degrees of care, according to the ground.* Sometimes 
it crossed smooth and level valleys, which offered of 

4 The " first conquerors," according to Garcilasso, were held in 
especial honor by those who came after them, though they were, on 
the whole, men of less consideration and fortune than the later adven- 
turers. Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 7, cap. 9. 

5 Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Naharro, Relacion sumana, 
MS. — Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, tom. iii. fol. 400. 

' " Va todo el camino de una traza y anchura becho d mano." Re- 
lacion del primer Descub., MS. 


themselves little impediment to the traveller; at other 
times it followed the course of a mountain-stream that 
flowed round the base of some beetling cliff, leaving 
small space for the foothold ; at others, again, where 
the sierra was so precipitous that it seemed to preclude 
all farther progress, the road, accommodated to the 
natural sinuosities of the ground, wound round the 
heights which it would have been impossible to scale 

But, although managed with great address, it was a 
formidable passage for the cavalry. The mountain was 
hewn into steps, but the rocky ledges cut up the hoofs 
of the horses ; and, though the troopers dismounted 
and led them by the bridle, they suffered severely in 
their efforts to keep their footing.* The road was 
constructed for man and the light-footed llama; and 
the only heavy beast of burden at all suited to it was 
the sagacious and sure-footed mule, with which the 
Spanish adventurers were not then provided. It was a 
singular chance that Spain was the land of the mule ; 
and thus the country was speedily supplied with the 
very animal which seems to have been created for the 
difficult passes of the Cordilleras. 

Another obstacle, often occurring, was the deep 
torrents that rushed down in fury from the Andes. 
They were traversed by the hanging bridges of osier, 
whose frail materials were after a time broken up 
by the heavy tread of the cavalry, and the holes made 
in them added materially to the dangers of the passage. 

7 " En muchas partes viendo lo que esfd adelante, parece cosa im- 
possible poderlo pasar." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 
* Pad. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 404. 


On such occasions the Spaniards contrived to work 
their way across the rivers on rafts, swimming their 
horses by the bridle.' 

All along the route they found post-houses for the 
accommodation of the royal couriers, established at 
regular intervals j and magazines of grain and other 
commodities, provided in the principal towns for the 
Indian armies. The Spaniards profited by the prudent 
forecast of the Peruvian government. 

Passing through several hamlets and towns of some 
note, the principal of which were Huamachuco and 
Huanuco, Pizarro, after a tedious march, came in 
sight of the rich valley of Xauxa. The march, though 
tedious, had been attended with little suffering, ex- 
cept in crossing the bristling crests of the Cordilleras, 
which occasionally obstructed their path, — a rough 
setting to the beautiful valleys that lay scattered like 
gems along this elevated region. In the mountain- 
passes they found some inconvenience from the cold ; 
since, to move more quickly, they had disencumbered 
themselves of all superfluous baggage, and were even 
unprovided with tents." The bleak winds of the 
mountains penetrated the thick harness of the soldiers; 
but the poor Indians, more scantily clothed, and ac- 
customed to a tropical climate, suffered most severely. 
The Spaniard seemed to have a hardihood of body, 
as of soul, that rendered him almost indifferent to 

9 Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, ubi supra. — Relacion del primer 
Descub., MS. 

»o " La notte dormirono tutti in quella campagna senza coperto 
alcuno, sopra la neue, ne pur hebber souuenimento di legne ne da 
mangiare." Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 401. 


On the march they had not been molested by 
enemies. But more than once they had seen vestiges 
of them in smoking hamlets and ruined bridges. 
Reports, from time to time, had reached Pizarro of 
warriors on his track ; and small bodies of Indians 
were occasionally seen like dusky clouds on the verge 
of the horizon, which vanished as the Spaniards ap- 
proached. On reaching Xauxa, however, these clouds 
gathered into one dark mass of warriors, which formed 
on the opposite bank of the river that flowed through 
the valley. 

The Spaniards advanced to the stream, which, swollen 
by the melting of the snows, was now of considerable 
width, though not deep. The bridge had been de- 
stroyed ; but the Conquerors, without hesitation, dash- 
ing boldly in, advanced, swimming and wading, as 
they best could, to the opposite bank. The Indians, 
disconcerted by this decided movement, as they had 
relied on their watery defences, took to flight, after 
letting off an impotent volley of missiles. Fear gave 
wings to the fugitives ; but the horse and his rider 
were swifter, and the victorious pursuers took bloody 
vengeance on their enemy for having dared even to 
meditate resistance. 

Xauxa was a considerable town. It was the place 
already noticed as having been visited by Hernando 
Pizarro. It was seated in the midst of a verdant valley, 
fertilized by a thousand little rills, which the thrifty 
Indian husbandmen drew from the parent river that 
rolled sluggishly through the meadows. There were 
several capacious buildings of rough stone in the town, 
and a temple of some note in the times of the Incas. 



Buc the strong arm of Father Valverde and his country- 
men soon tumbled the heathen deities from their pride 
of place, and established, in their stead, the sacred 
efifigies of the Virgin and Child. 

Here Pizarro proposed to halt for some days, and to 
found a Spanish colony. It was a favorable position, 
he thought, for holding the Indian mountaineers in 
check, while at the same time it afforded an easy com- 
munication with the sea-coast. Meanwhile he deter- 
mined to send forward De Soto, with a detachment 
of sixty horse, to reconnoitre the country in advance, 
and to lestore the bridges where demolished by the 

That active cavalier set forward at once, but found 
considerable impediments to his progress. The traces 
of an enemy became more frequent as he advanced. 
The villages were burnt, the bridges destroyed, and 
heavy rocks and trees strewed in the path to impede 
the march of the cavalry. As he drew near to Bilcas, 
once an important place, though now effaced from the 
map, he had a sharp encounter with the natives, in a 
mountain-defile, which cost him the lives of two or 
three troopers. The loss was light ; but any loss was 
felt by the Spaniards, so little accustomed as they had 
been of late to resistance. 

Still pressing forward, the Spanish captain crossed 
the river Abancay and the broad waters of the Apuri- 
mac ; and, as he drew near the sierra of Vilcaconga, 

" Carta de la Justicia y Regimiento de la Ciudad de Xauja, MS. — 
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Conq. i Pob. del Piru, MS.— 
Herrera, Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 4, cap. 10. — Relacion de) primer 
Descub., MS. 



he learned that a considerable body of Indians lay in 
wait for him in the dangerous passes of the mountains. 
The sierra was several leagues from Cuzco \ and the 
cavalier, desirous to reach the farther side of it before 
nightfall, incautiously pushed on his wearied horses. 
When he was fairly entangled in its rocky defiles, a 
multitude of armed warriors, springing, as it seemed, 
from every cavern and thicket of the sierra, filled the 
air with their war-cries, and rushed down, like one of 
their own mountain-torrents, on the invaders, as they 
were painfully toiling up the steeps. Men and horses 
were overturned in the fury of the assault, and the 
foremost files, rolling back on those below, spread ruin 
and consternation in their ranks. De Soto in vain 
endeavored to restore order, and, if possible, to charge 
the assailants. The horses were blinded and maddened 
by the missiles, while the desperate natives, clinging 
to their legs, strove to prevent their ascent up the 
rocky pathway. De Soto saw that, unless he gained a 
level ground which opened at some distance before 
him, all must be lost. Cheering on his men with the 
old battle-cry, that always went to the heart of a 
Spaniard, he struck his spurs deep into the sides of his 
wearied charger, and, gallantly supported by his troop, 
broke through the dark array of warriors, and, shaking 
them off to the right and left, at length succeeded in 
placing himself on the broad level. 

Here both parties paused, as if by mutual consent, 

for a few moments. A little stream ran through the 

plain, at which the Spaniards watered their horses;" 

and, the animals having recovered wind, De Soto and 

«» Ped Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 405. 


his men made a desperate charge on their assailants, 
The undaunted Indians sustained the shock with firm- 
ness ; and the result of the combat was still doubtful, 
when the shades of evening, falling thicker around 
them, separated the combatants. 

B3th parties then withdrew from the field, taking up 
their respective stations within bow-shot of each other, 
so that the voices of the warriors on either side could 
be distinctly heard in the stillness of the night. But 
very different were the reflections of the two hosts. 
The Indians, exulting- in their temporary triumph, 
looked with confidence to the morrow to complete it. 
The Spaniards, on the other hand, were proportion- 
ably discouraged. They were not prepared for this 
spirit of resistance in an enemy hitherto so tame. 
Several cavaliers had fallen, — one of them by a blow 
from a Peruvian battle-axe, which clove his head to 
the chin, attesting the power of the weapon and of 
the arm that used it.'^ Several horses, too, had been 
killed ; and the loss of these was almost as severely 
felt as that of their riders, considering the great cost 
and difficulty of transporting them to these distant 
regions. Few either of the men or horses had escaped 
without wounds, and the Indian allies had suffered still 
more severely. 

It seemed probable, from the pertinacity and a cer- 
tain order maintained in the assault, that it was di- 
rected by some leader of military experience, — perhaps 
the Indian commander Quizquiz, who was said to be 
hanging round the environs of Cuzco with a consid- 
erable force. 

»3 Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio. loc. cit 



Notwithstanding the reasonable cause of apprehen- 
sion for tlie morrow, De Soto, like a stout-hearted 
cavalier as he was, strove to keep up the spirits of his 
followers. If they had beaten off the enemy when 
their horses were jaded and their own strength nearly 
exhausted, how much easier it would be to come off 
victoriour when both were restored by a night's rest ! 
and he told them to "trust in the Almighty, who 
would never desert his faithful followers in their ex- 
tremity." The event justified De Soto's confidence in 
this seasonable succor. 

From time to time, on his march, he had sent ad 
vices to Pizarro of the menacing state of the country, 
till his commander, becoming seriously alarmed, was 
apprehensive that the cavalier might be overpowered 
by the superior numbers of the enemy. He accord- 
ingly detached Almagro, with nearly all the remaining 
horse, to his support, — unencumbered by infantry, 
that he might move the faster. That efficient leader 
advanced by forced marches, stimulated by the tidings 
which met him on the road, and was so fortunate as 
to reach the foot of the sierra of Vilcaconga the very 
night of the engagement. 

There, hearing of the encounter, he pushed forward 
without halting, though his horses were spent with 
travel. The night was exceedingly dark, and Almagro, 
afraid of stumbling on the enemy's bivouac, and de- 
sirous to give De Soto information of his approach, 
commanded his trumpets to sound, till the notes, 
winding through the defiles of the mountains, broke 
the slumbers of his countrymen, sounding like blithest 
music in their ears. They quickly replied with their 
Peru. — Vol. I. 42 


own bugles, and soon had the satisfaction to embrace 
their deliverers.'* 

Great was the dismay of the Peruvian host when 
the morning light discovered the fresh reinforcement 
of thf ranks of the Spaniards. There was no use in 
contending with an enemy who gathered strength from 
the conflict, and who seemed to multiply his numbers 
at Avill. Without further attempt to renew the fight, 
they availed themselves of a thick fog, which hung 
over the lower slopes of the hills, to effect their re- 
treat, and left the passes open to the invaders. The 
two cavaliers then continued their march until they 
extricated their forces from the sierra, when, taking 
up a secure position, they proposed to await there the 
arrival of Pizarro.'* 

The commander-in-chief, meanwhile, lay at Xauxa, 
where he was greatly disturbed by the rumors which 
reached him of the state of the country. His enter- 
prise, thus far, had gone forward so smoothly that he 
was no better prepared than his lieutenant to meet 
with resistance from the natives. He did not seem to 
comprehend that the mildest nature might at last be 
roused by oppression, and that the massacre of their 
Inca, whom they regarded with such awful veneration, 
would be likely, if any thing could do it, to wake them 
from their apathy. 

The tidings which he now received of the retreat ot 

M Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Herrera. Hist, general, 
dec. 5, lib. 5, cap. 3. 

»5 The account of De Soto's affair with the natives is given in morn 
or less detail, by Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 405, — 
Conq. i Pob. del Pirn, MS., — Relacion del primer Descub., MS.,— 
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS., — persons all present in the annjr 



the Peruvians were most welcome ; and he caused mass 
to be said, and thanksgivings to be offered up to 
Heaven, "which had shown itself thus favorable to the 
Christians throughout this mighty enterprise." The 
Spaniard was ever a Crusader. He was in the six- 
teenth century what Cceur de Lion and his brave 
knights were in the twelfth, with this difference; the 
cavalier of that day fought for the Cross and for glory, 
while gold and the Cross were the watchwords of the 
Spaniard. The spirit of chivalry had waned somewhat 
before the spirit of trade; but the fire of religious en- 
thusiasm still burned as bright under the quilted mail 
of the American Conqueror as it did of yore under the 
iron panoply of the soldier of Palestine. 

It seemed probable that some man of authority had 
organized, or at least countenanced, this resistance of 
the natives ; and suspicion fell on the captive chief 
Challcuchima, who was accused of maintaining a secret 
correspondence with his confederate Quizquiz. Pizarro 
waited on the Indian noble, and, charging him with 
the conspiracy, reproached him, as he had formerly 
done his royal master, with ingratitude towards the 
Spaniards, who had dealt with him so liberally. He 
concluded by the assurance that, if he did not cause 
the Peruvians to lay down their arms and tender their 
submission at once, he should be burnt alive so soon as 
they reached Almagro's quarters.'* 

The Indian chief listened to the terrible menace with 
the utmost composure. He denied having had any 
communication with his countrymen, and said that, in 

»* Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., MS. — Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. 

Ramusio, tom. iii. fol. 406. 


his present state of confinement at least, he could have 
no power to bring them to submission. He then re- 
mained doggedly silent, and Pizarro did not press the 
matter further. '^ But he placed a strong guard over 
his prisoner, and caused him to be put in irons. It 
was an ominous proceeding, and had been the precur- 
sor of the death of Atahuallpa. 

Before quitting Xauxa, a misfortune befell the Span- 
iards, in the death of their creature the young Inca 
Toparca. Suspicion, of course, fell on Challcuchima, 
now selected as the scape-goat for all the offences of 
his nation. '« It was a disappointment to Pizarro, who 
hoped to find a convenient shelter for his future pro- 
ceedings under this shadow of royalty.'' 

The general considered it most prudent not to hazard 
the loss of his treasures by taking them on the march, 
and he accordingly left them at Xauxa, under a guard 
of forty soldiers, who remained there in garrison. No 
event of importance occurred on the road, and, Pizarro 

'7 Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramiisio, ubi supra. 

»8 It seems, from the language of the letter addressed to the empe- 
ror by the municipality of Xauxa, that the troops themselves were far 
from being convinced of Challcuchima"s guilt : " Publico fue, aunque 
dello no ubo averiguacion in certenidad, que el capitan Chaliconiman 
le abia dado ierbas o a beber con que murio." Carta de la Just, y 
Reg. de Xauja, MS. 

•9 According to Velasco, Toparca, whom, however, he calls by 
another name, tore off the diadem bestowed on him by Pizarro, with 
diadain, and died in a few weeks of chagrin. (Hist, de Quito, tom. 
'• P- 377-) This writer, a Jesuit of Quito, seems to feel himself bound 
to make out as good a case for Atahuallpa and his family as if he had 
been expressly retained in their behalf. His vouchers— when he con- 
descends to give any— too rarely bear him out in his statements to 
Inspire us with much confidence in his correctness. 



having effected a junction with Almagro, their united 
forces soon entered the vale of Xaquixaguana, about 
five leagues from Cuzco. This was one of those bright 
spots, so often found embosomed amidst the Andes, the 
more beautiful from contrast with the savage character 
of the scenery around it. A river flowed through tlie 
valley, affording the means of irrigating the soil and 
clothing it in perpetual verdure; and the rich and 
flowering vegetation spread out like a cultivated garden. 
The beauty of the place and its delicious coolness com- 
mended it as a residence for the Peruvian nobles, and 
the sides of the hills were dotted with their villus, 
which afforded them a grateful retreat in the heats of 
summer.^" Yet the centre of the valley was disfigured 
by a quagmire of some extent, occasioned by the 
frequent overflowing of the waters ; but the industry 
of the Indian architects had constructed a solid cause- 
way, faced with heavy stone, and connected with the 
great road, which traversed the whole breadth of the 

In this valley Pizarro halted for several days, while 
he refreshed his troops from the well-stored magazines 
of the Incas. His first act was to bring Challcuchima 
to trial, — if trial that could be called, where sentence 
may be said to have gone hand in hand with accusation. 
We are not informed of the nature of the evidence. It 
was sufficient to satisfy the Spanish captains of the 
chieftain's guilt. Nor is it at all incredible that Chall- 

»> "Aula en este valle muy sumptuosos aposcntos y ricos adondc 
los seiiores del Cuzco salian a tomar sus plazerts y solazes." Cieza 
de Leon, Cronica, cap. 91. 

" Ibid., ubi supra. 



cuchima should have secretly encouraged a movement 
among the people, designed to secure his country's 
freedom and his own. He was condemned to be burnt 
alive on the spot. " Some thought it a hard measure," 
says Herrera ; " but those who are governed by reasons 
of state policy are apt to shut their eyes against every 
thing else."" Why this cruel mode of execution was 
so often adopted by the Spanish Conquerors is not ob- 
vious ; unless it was that the Indian was an infidel, and 
fire, from ancient date, seems to have been considered 
the fitting doom of the infidel, as the type of that in- 
extinguishable flame which awaited him in the regions 
of the damned. 

Father Valverde accompanied the Peruvian chieftain 
to the stake. He seems always to have been present 
at this dreary moment, anxious to profit by it, if possi- 
ble, to work the conversion of the victim. He painted 
in gloomy colors the dreadful doom of the unbeliever, 
to whom the waters of baptism could alone secure the 
ineffable glories of paradise.^ It does not appear that 
he promised any commutation of punishment in this 
world. But his arguments fell on a stony heart, and 
the chief coldly replied, he " did not understand the 
religion of the white men." »■• He might be pardoned 
for not comprehending the beauty of a faith which, as 
it would seem, had borne so bitter fruits to him. In 
the midst of his tortures he showed the characteristic 
courage of the American Indian, whose power of en- 
durance triumphs over the power of persecution in his 

» Hist, general, dec. 5, lib. 6, cap. 3. 

»3 Ped. Sancho. Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 406. 

•* Ibid., loc. cit. 



enemies, and he died with his last breath invoking the 
name of Pachacamac. His own followers brought the 
fagots to feed the flames that consumed him.^ 

Soon after this tragic event, Pizarro was surprised by 
A visit from a Peruvian noble, who came in great state, 
attended by a numerous and showy retinue. It was 
the young prince Manco, brother of the unfortunate 
Huascar, and the rightful successor to the crown. 
Being brought before the Spanish commander, he an- 
nounced his pretensions to the throne and claimed the 
protection of the strangers. It is said he had medi- 
tated resisting them by arms, and had encouraged the 
assaults made on them on their march, but, finding 
resistance ineffectual, he had taken this politic course, 
greatly to the displeasure of his more resolute nobles. 
However this may be, Pizarro listened to his applica 
tion with singular contentment, for he saw in this new 
scion of the true royal stock a more effectual instru- 
ment for his purposes than he could have found in the 
family of Quito, with whom the Peruvians had but 
little sympathy. He received the young man, there- 
fore, with great cordiality, and did not hesitate to 
assure him that he had been sent into the country by 
his master, the Castilian sovereign, in order to vindi- 
cate the claims of Huascar to the crown and to punish 
the usurpation of his rival. ^ 

Taking with him the Indian prince, Pizarro now 

»5 Pedro Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, loc. cit. — Pedro Pizarro, Descub. 
y Conq., MS. — The MS. of the old Conqueror is so much damaged 
in this part of it that much of his account is entirely effaced. 

* Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 406. — Pedro Pizarro, 
Descub. y Conq., MS. 


resumed his march. It was interrupted for a few hours 
by a party of the natives, who lay in wait for him in 
the neighboring sierra. A sharp skirmish ensued, in 
which the Indians behaved with great spirit and in- 
flicted some little injury on the Spaniards; but the 
latter at length, shaking them off, made good their 
passage through the defile, and the enemy did not care 
to follow them into the open country. 

It was late in the afternoon when the Conquerors 
came in sight of Cuzco."^ The descending sun was 
streaming his broad rays full on the imperial city, 
where many an altar was dedicated to his worship. 
The low ranges of buildings, showing in his beams like 
so many lines of silvery light, filled up the bosom of 
the valley and the lower slopes of the mountains, 
whose shadowy forms hung darkly over the fair city, 
as if to shield it from the menaced profanation. It 
was so late that Pizarro resolved to defer his entrance 
till the following morning. 

That night vigilant guard was kept in the camp, and 
the soldiers slept on their arms. But it passed away 
without annoyance from the enemy, and early on the 
following day, November 15th, 1533, Pizarro prepared 
for his entrance into the Peruvian capital.''* 

The little army was formed into three divisions, of 
which the centre, or "battle," as it was called, was 
led by the general. The suburbs were thronged with 

»7 " Y dos horas antes que el Sol se pusiese, Uegaron d vista de la 
ciudad del Cuzco." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 

^ The chronicles differ as to the precise date. There can be no 
oetter authorities than Pedro Sancho's narrative and the Letter of the 
Magistrates of Xauxa, which I have followed in the text. 



a countless multitude of the natives, who had flocked 
from the city and the surrounding country to witness 
the showy and, to them, startling pageant. All looked 
with eager curiosity on the strangers, the fame of whose 
terrible exploits had spread to the remotest parts of the 
empire. They gazed with astonishment on their daz- 
zling arms and fair complexions, which seemed to pro- 
claim them the true Children of the Sun ; and they 
listened with feelings of mysterious dread as the trumpet 
sent forth its prolonged notes through the streets of the 
capital and the solid ground shook under the heavy 
tramp of the cavalry. 

The Spanish commander rode directly up the great 
square. It was surrounded by low piles of buildings, 
among which were several palaces of the Incas. One 
of these, erected by Huayna Capac, was surmounted 
by a tower, while the ground-floor was occupied by one 
or more immense halls, like those described in Caxa- 
malca, where the Peruvian nobles held their fetes in 
stormy weather. These buildings afforded convenient 
barracks for the troops, though during the first few 
weeks they remained under their tents in the open 
plaza, with their horses picketed by their side, ready 
to repulse any insurrection of the inhabitants.''' 

The capital of the Incas, though falling short of the 
El Dorado which had engaged their credulous fancies, 
astonished the Spaniards by the beauty of its edifices, 
the length and regularity of its streets, and the good 
order and appearance of comfort, even luxury, visible 
in its numerous population. It far surpassed all they 

"9 Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 407. — Garcilasso, 
Com. Real., Parte i, lib. 7, cap. 10. — Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 


had yet seen in the New World. The population of 
the city is computed by one of the Conquerors at two 
hundred thousand inhabitants, and that of the suburbs 
at as many more.^ This account is not confirmed, as 
far as I have seen, by any other writer. But, however 
it may be exaggerated, it is certain that Cuzco was the 
metropolis of a great empire, the residence of the 
court and the chief nobility; frequented by the most 
skilful mechanics and artisans of every description, 
who found a demand for their ingenuity in the royal 
precincts; while the place was garrisoned by a numer- 
ous soldiery, and was the resort, finally, of emigrants 
from the most distant provinces. The quarters whence 
this motley population came were indicated by their 
peculiar dress, and especially their head-gear, so rarely 
found at all on the American Indian, which, with its 
variegated colors, gave a picturesque effect to the 
groups and masses in the streets. The habitual order 
and decorum maintained in this multifarious assembly 

30 " Esta ciudad era muy grande i mui populosa de grandes edificios 
i comarcas, quando los Espanoles entraron la primera vez en ella 
havia gran cantidad de gente, seria pueblo de mas de 40 mill, vecinos 
solamente lo que tomaba la ciudad, que arravalles i comarca en dere- 
dor del Cuzco i 10 6 12 leguas creo yo que havia docientos mill. In- 
dies, porque esto era lo mas poblado de todos estos reinos." (Conq. 
i Pob. del Piru, MS.) The vecino or " householder" is computed, 
usually, as representing five individuals. — Yet Father Valverde, in a 
letter written a few years after this, speaks of the city as having only 
three or four thousand houses at the time of its occupation, and the 
suburbs as having nineteen or twenty thousand. (Carta al Empera- 
dor, MS., 20 de Marzo, 1539.) It is possible that he took into the 
account only the better kind of houses, not considering the mud huts, 
or rather hovels, which made so large a part of a Peruvian town, as 
deserving notice. 



showed the excellent police of the capital, where the 
only sounds that disturbed the repose of the Spaniards 
were the noises of feasting and dancing, which the 
natives, with happy insensibility, constantly prolonged 
to a late hour of the night. 3' 

The edifices of the better, sort — and they were 
very numerous — were of stone, or faced with stone. 3' 
Among the principal were the royal residences ; as 
each sovereign built a new palace for himself, cover- 
ing, though low, a large extent of ground. The walls 
were sometimes stained or painted with gaudy tints, 
and the gates, we are assured, were sometimes of col- 
ored marble.33 "In the delicacy of the stone-work," 
says another of the Conquerors, " the natives far ex- 
celled the Spaniards, though the roofs of their dwell- 
ings, instead of tiles, were only of thatch, but put 
together with the nicest art." 3* The sunny climate 

31 " Heran tantos los atambores que de noche se oian por todas 
partes bailando y cantando y bebiendo que toda la mayor parte de la 
noche se les pasava en esto cotidianamente." Pedro Pizavro, Descub. 
y Conq., MS. 

3» " La maggior parte di queste case sono di pietra, et I'altre hano 
la metk della facciata di pietra." Fed. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, 
torn. iii. fol. 413. 

33 " Clie sono le principali della cittk dipinte et lauorate, et di pietra: 
et la miglior d'esse h la casa di Guainacaba Cacique vecchio, et la porta 
d'essa e di marmo bianco et rosso, et d'altri colori." (Ibid., ubi su- 
pra.) The buildings were usually of freestone. There may have been 
porphyry from the neighboring mountains mixed with this, which the 
Spaniards mistook for marble. 

34 " Todo labrado de piedra muy prima, que cierto toda la canteria 
desta cibdad hace gran ventaja k la de Espana, aunque carecen de 
teja que todas las casas sino es la fortaleza, que era hecha de azoteas, 
son cubiertas de paja, aunque tan primamente puesta, que parece 
bien." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 


of Cuzco did not require a very substantial materia] 
for defence against the weather. 

The most important building was the fortress, planted 
on a solid rock that rose boldly above the city. It 
was built of hewn stone, so finely wrought that it was 
impossible to detect the line of junction between the 
blocks; and the approaches to it were defended by 
three semicircular parapets, composed of such heavy 
masses of rock that it bore resemblance to the kind of 
work known to architects as the Cyclopean.* The fort- 
ress was raised to a height rare in Peruvian architec- 
ture; and from the summit of the tower the eye of the 
spectator ranged over a magnificent prospect, in which 
the wild features of the mountain-scenery, rocks, woods, 
and waterfalls, were mingled with the rich verdure of 
the valley, and the shining city filling up the foreground, 
— all blended in sweet harmony under the deep azure 
of a tropical sky. 

The streets were long and narrow. They were ar- 
ranged with perfect regularity, crossing one another at 
right angles ; and from the great square diverged four 
principal streets connecting with the high-roads of the 
empire. The square itself, and many parts of the city, 
were paved with a fine pebble." Through the heart of 

3S Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn, iii., ubi supra. — A passage 
in the Letter of the Municipality of Xauxa is worth quoting, as con- 
firming on the best authority some of the interesting particulars men- 

* [Mr. ^farkham, who examined the ruins in 1853, has given a 
minute description of this " gigantic treble line of Cyclopean fortifi- 
cation." which, he says, " must fill the mind of every traveller with 
astonishment and admiration." Translation of Cieza de Leon, p. 
325, note. — Ed.] 



the capital ran a river of pure water, if it might not be 
rather termed a canal, the banks or sides of which, for 
the distance of twenty leagues, were faced with stone. ^' 
Across this stream, bridges, constructed of similar broad 
flags, were thrown at intervals, so as to afford an easy- 
communication between the different quarters of the 
capital. 37 

The most sumptuous edifice in Cuzco in the times 
of the Incas was undoubtedly the great temple dedi- 
cated to the Sun, which, studded with gold plates, as 
already noticed, was surrounded by convents and dor- 
mitories for the priests, with their gardens and broad 
parterres sparkling with gold. The exterior ornaments 
had been already removed by the Conquerors, — all but 
tlie frieze of gold, which, imbedded in the stones, still 
encircled the principal building. It is probable that 

tioned in the text : " Esta cibdad es la mejor e maior que en la tierra 
se ha visto, i aun en Yndias; e decimos a V. M. ques tan hermosa i 
de tan buenos edeficios queen Espana seria muy de ver; tiene las 
calles por mucho concierto en pedradas i por medio dellas un caiio 
enlosado, la plaza es hecha en cuadra i empedrada de quijas pequenas 
todas, todas las mas de las casas son de Senores Principales hechas de 
canteria, esta en una ladera de un zerro en el cual sobre el pueblo 
esta una fortaleza mui bien obrada de canteria, tan de ver que por 
Espaiioles que han andado Reinos estranos dicen no haver visto otro 
edeficio igual al della." Carta de la Just, y Reg. de Xauja, MS. 

36 " Un rio, el cual baja por medio de la cibdad y desde que nace, 
mas de veinte leguas por aquel valle abajo donde hay muchas pobla- 
ciones, va enlosado todo por el suelo, y las varrancas de ima parte y 
de otra hechas de canteria labrada, cosa nunca vista, ni oida." Rela- 
cion del primer Descub., MS. 

37 The reader will find a few repetitions in this chapter of what I 
have already said, in the Introduction, of Cuzco under the Incas. But 
the facts here stated are for the most part drawn from other sources, 
and some repetition was unavoidable in order to give a distinct image 
of the capital. 

Peru.— Vol. I. — 43 w 


the tales of wealth so greedily circulated among the 
Spaniards greatly exceeded the truth. If they did not, 
the natives must have been very successful in conceal- 
ing their treasures from the invaders. Yet much still 
remained, not only in the great House of the Sun, but 
in the inferior temples which swarmed in the capital. 

Pizarro, on entering Cuzco, had issued an order for- 
bidding any soldier to offer violence to the dwellings 
of the inhabitants. 3^ But the palaces were numerous, 
and the troops lost no time in plundering them of their 
contents, as well as in despoiling the religious edifices. 
The interior decorations supplied them with considera- 
ble booty. They stripped off the jewels and rich orna- 
ments that garnished the royal mummies in the temple 
of Coricancha. Indignant at the concealment of their 
treasures, they put the inhabitants, in some instances, 
to the torture, and endeavored to extort from them a 
confession of their hiding-places.^' They invaded the 
repose of the sepulchres, in which the Peruvians often 
deposited their valuable effects, and compelled the 
grave to give up its dead. No place was left unexplored 
by the rapacious Conquerors ; and they occasionally 
stumbled on a mine of wealth that rewarded their labors. 

In a cavern near the city they found a number of 
vases of pure gold, richly embossed with the figures ol 
serpents, locusts, and other animals. Among the spoil 
were four golden llamas and ten or twelve statues of 
women, some of gold, others of silver, " which merely 

38 " Pues mando el marquez dar vn pregon que ningun espanol fueso 
k entrar en las casas de los naturales 6 tomalles nada." Pedro Pizarro, 
Descub. y Conq., MS. 

39 Gomara, Hist, de las Ind., cap. 123. 



to see," says one of the Conquerors, with some naivetiy 
•' was truly a great satisfaction." The gold was proba- 
bly thin, for the figures were all as large as life; and 
several of them, being reserved for the royal fifth, were 
not recast, but sent in their original form to Spain.*" 
The magazines were stored with curious commodities; 
richly-tinted robes of cotton and feather-work, gold 
sandals, and slippers of the same material, for the 
women, and dresses composed entirely of beads of 
gold."' The grain and other articles of food, with 
which the magazines were filled, were held in contempt 
by the Conquerors, intent only on gratifying their lust 
for gold.''^ The time came when the grain would have 
been of far more value. 

Yet the amount of treasure in the capital did not 
equal the sanguine expectations that had been formed 
by the Spaniards. But the deficiency was supplied by 
the plunder which they had collected at various places 
on their march. In one place, for example, they met 
with ten planks or bars of solid silver, each piece being 

40 " Et fra I'altre cose singolari, era veder quattro castrati di fin oro 
molto grandi, et 10 6 12 statue di done, della grandezza delle done di 
quel paese tutte d'oro fino, cosi belle et ben fatte come se fossero viue. 
. . . Queste furono date nel quinto che toccaua a S. M." (Ped. San- 
clio, Rel., ap. Ramiisio, torn. iii. fol. 409.) " Muchas estatuas y figu- 
ras de oro y plata enteras, hecha la forma toda de una miiger, y del 
tamauo della, muy bien labradas." Relacion del primer Descub., MS. 

4» " Avia ansi niismo olras muchas plumas de diferentes colores para 
este efecto de hacer rropas que vestian los senores y seiioras y no otro 
en los tiempos de sus fiestas, avia tambien mantas hechas de chaquini, 
de oro, y de plata, que heran vnas quentecitas muy delicadas, qi.e 
jiarccia cosa de espanto ver su hechura.'' Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y 
(-onq., MS. 

*> Ondegardo, Rel. Prim., MS. 

5oS C0A'QU£S7' OF PERU. 

twenty feet in length, one foot in breadth, and two or 
three inches thick. They were intended to decorate 
the dwelling of an Inca noble. ""^ 

The whole mass of treasure was brought into a com- 
rnon heap, as in Caxamalca ; and, after some of the 
finer specimens had been deducted for the crown, the 
remainder was delivered to the Indian goldsmiths to 
be melted down into ingots of a uniform standard. 
The division of the spoil was made on the same prin- 
ciple as before. There were four hundred and eighty 
soldiers, including the garrison of Xauxa, who were 
each to receive a share, that of the cavalry being 
double that of the infantry. The amount of booty is 
stated variously by those present at the division of it. 
According to some, it considerably exceeded the ransom 
of Atahuallpa. Others state it as less. Pedro Pizarro 
says that each horseman got six thousand pesos de oro, 
and each one of the infantry half that sum ; ■" though 
the same discrimination was made by Pizarro as before, 
in respect to the rank of the parties, and their relative 
services. But Sancho, the royal notary, and secretary 
of the commander, estimates the whole amount as far 
less, — not exceeding five hundred and eighty thousand 
and two hundred pesos de oro, and two hundred and 
fifteen thousand marks of silver. ■♦s In the absence of 

43 " Pues andando yo buscando mahiz 6 ofras cosas para comer, 
acaso entre en vn buhio donde halle estos tablones de plala que tengo 
dicho que heran hasta diez y de largo tenian veinte pies y de anchoi 
de vno y de gordor de tres dedos, di noticia dello al marquez y el y 
lodos los demas que con el estavan entraron d vello." Pedro Pizarro, 
Descub. y Conq., MS. 

44 Descub. y Conq., MS. 

45 Ped. Sancho, Rel., ap. Ramusio, torn. iii. fol. 409. 



the official returns, it is impossible to determine which 
is correct. But Sancho's narrative is countersigned, 
it may be remembered, by Pizarro and the royal treas- 
urer Riquelme, and doubtless, therefore, shows the 
actual amount for which the Conquerors accounted to 
tlie crown. 

Whichever statement we receive, the sum, combined 
with- that obtained at Caxamalca, might well have sat- 
isfied the cravings of the most avaricious. The sud- 
den influx of so much wealth, and that, too, in so 
transferable a form, among a party of reckless adven- 
turers little accustomed to the possession of money, 
had its natural effect. It supplied them with the means 
of gaming, so strong and common a passion with the 
Spaniards that it may be considered a national vice. 
Fortunes w^ere lost and won in a single day, sufficient 
to render the proprietors independent for life; and 
many a desperate gamester, by an unlucky throw of 
the dice or turn of the cards, saw himself stripped in 
a itw hours of the fruits of years of toil and obliged 
to begin over again the business of rapine. Among 
these, one in the cavalry service is mentioned, named 
Leguizano,* who had received as his sliare of the booty 
the image of the Sun, which, raised on a plate of 
burnished gold, spread over the walls in a recess of the 

® [Or Lejesema, — the same person whose will is referred to in Book I, 
chap. 5, note 37, and printed in Appendix No. 4. According to Gar- 
cilasso, he had been " a great gambler," but his loss on the present 
occasion proved his salvation, as he " hated play ever afterwards," and 
devoted himself with zeal and diligence to the public service. lie 
held several offices, married an Inca princess, took part in the civil 
wars, — generally on the winning side, — and survived all his old com- 
panions in arms. — Ed.] 



great temple, and which, for some reason or other,— 
perhaps because of its superior fineness, — was not re- 
cast like the other ornaments. This rich prize the 
spendthrift lost in a single night; whence it came to 
be a proverb in Spain, yz/r^a el Sol antes que amanezca, 
"He plays away the Sun before sunrise." ■•® 

The effect of such a surfeit of the precious metals 
was instantly felt on prices. The most ordinary. arti- 
cles were only to be had for exorbitant sums. A 
quire of paper was sold for ten pesos de oro ; a bottle 
of wine, for sixty; a sword, for forty or fifty; a cloak, 
for a hundred, — sometimes more ; a pair of shoes cost 
thirty or forty pesos de oro, and a good horse could 
not be had for less than twenty-five hundred.'*' Some 
brought a still higher price. Every article rose in 
Value, as gold and silver, the representatives of all, 
declined. Gold and silver, in short, seemed to be the 
only things in Cuzco that were not wealth. Yet there 
were some few wise enough to return contented with 
their present gains to their native country. Here their 
riches brought them consideration and competence, 
and, while tliey excited the envy of their countrymen, 
stimulated them to seek their own fortunes in the like 
path of adventure. 

«6 Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte i. lib. 3, cap. 20. 
47 Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, toni. iii. p. 233.